Devils overwhelm Blue Jackets 7-1, Vanecek wins 3rd straight
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Fabian Zetterland scored late in the first period, Nico Hischier and defenseman Ryan Graves scored 33 seconds apart early in the second and Vitek Vanecek made 20 saves as the surging New Jersey Devils routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-1 on Sunday.
Defensemen John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler, Jesper Bratt and Miles Wood also scored for New Jersey. Vanecek won his third straight.
The Devils bombarded the Blue Jackets with 53 shots and won for the sixth time in seven games after losing twice to start the season. Columbus lost its third in a row.
“This win shows character,” said Hischier, the Devils 23-year-old captain. ”We beat a great team (Colorado Avalanche on Friday) and then put it behind us … We came out to play today. It was an all-around fun game, every line played well.”
Zetterlund opened the scoring with about seven minutes left in the first with a rocket past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins for his first of the season. Hischier drew the assist.
The Devils dominated the first, outshooting the visitors 20-5. Hischier made it 2-0 at 3:22 of the second with an unassisted goal to give him four goals and five assists in eight games this season.
Defenseman Ryan Graves netted his first of the season at 3:55, with assists from Jack Hughes and Bratt.
It extended Bratt’s season-opening points streak to nine games. And Hughes, who scored the lone goal in Friday’s 1-0 home win over the Avalanche, now has three goals and five assists.
“We’re locked into really playing our game and just playing it shift after shift and that’s the team game,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. ”You get in on the forecheck and you trust your forecheck and back your D up when they’re involved.”
Forward Yegor Chinakhov scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets at 6:39 of the second. It was his second goal of the season.
Marino put the home team ahead 4-1 with an unassisted goal — his first of the season and first with New Jersey — with about 20 seconds left in the second. In the third period, Siegenthaler made it 5-1, Bratt increased the lead to 6-1 and Wood completed the scoring.
“We have to be better,” Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner said. ”Our battle level has to be better.”
Columbus is 3-7-0 to start the season, last in the Metropolitan Division.
“This one is on me,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. ”We’ve got to get back to the root of this team. This one is solely on me. I have to get them better prepared.”
The crowd at Prudential Center booed Columbus’ Johnny Gaudreau, a New Jersey native who spurned the Devils as a free agent last summer, every time he touched the puck.
HONORING A LEGEND
Before the game, the Devils honored former defenseman Ken Daneyko for his four decades with the franchise as a three-time Stanley Cup winner and longtime broadcaster. Daneyko dropped the ceremonial puck.
The Devils haven’t allowed more than 25 shots in a game this season.
Devils: Visit Vancouver on Tuesday to start a three-game trip through western Canada.
Blue Jackets: In Finland to play the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 4 in first of two games there as part of the NHL Global Series.
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