Columbus Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky records third straight shutout

By Alison Lukan, The Sports Xchange  |  March 8, 2017 at 5:52 AM
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March 8 (UPI) -- COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Another game, another shutout for Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots for his third consecutive shutout -- and second straight over New Jersey -- as the Blue Jackets defeated the Devils 2-0 on Tuesday.

"With Bob what's impressive is that I don't think we've given up a lot of chances during games," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "But there's been some really good chances when we have had breakdowns and he's made some really good saves. The timing of his saves has been very important for us here."

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored with 10:21 remaining in regulation and Cam Atkinson added an empty net goal for the Blue Jackets (42-17-6).

Bobrovsky has not allowed a goal in regulation in four straight games and extended his franchise record for wins by a goaltender to 35. He has six shutouts this season, including a 3-0 victory in New Jersey on Sunday.

Sam Gagner received the puck behind the New Jersey net and fed Bjorkstrand in the slot. He beat goaltender Keith Kinkaid just below the crossbar. Scott Hartnell also collected an assist.

"(Bjorkstrand's) been great he's got a really good shot," Bobrovsky said. "It's so hard to stop that shot. He's got a quick release and has great timing with the shot too. He's definitely a big sniper and he got a big future."

Atkinson's goal came with 1:16 left when he gathered the puck and carried it into the zone before knocking it into the net from close range. It was his 30th goal of the season, extending a career best. Seth Jones and Brandon Dubinsky earned the assists.

"Come playoff time you have to find ways to win a lot of different ways," Gagner said. "That's the good thing about our team, we can grind out wins, we can play with skill and we can play with patience like we showed tonight so it's important to find different ways to win. Tonight is another stepping stone for us and hopefully we can continue to build on it."

Kinkaid made 23 saves for the Devils (25-29-12), who lost their eighth straight game (0-6-2).

New Jersey recorded 16 shots on goal in the first period after totaling 20 in Sunday's game.

"I thought we had some really high danger chances today," Devils center Travis Zajac said. "We've been working on some things in practice and I thought we did some good things out there offensively. It's not easy for us to buy one right now, but I think you have to like a lot of the things we did today.

"I know it's disheartening not winning but I really think guys competed today and can leave the rink knowing they left it out there today. Right now this group has to continue to day in and day out get better and these results will turn as long as the efforts there like it was tonight."

The Devils thought they scored when Taylor Hall deflected a Dalton Prout shot over Bobrovsky, but Hall's high stick negated the opportunity.

"You want to tip the shot," Hall said. "You don't know right away where the defenseman is going to shoot it. Even though it was up high I still want to get a stick on it. I knew right away (it wasn't a goal)."

NOTES:

-- Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky was named NHL Second Star of the Week after going 2-0-1 with a .989 save percentage in three starts.

-- Columbus killed 22 of 23 penalties over its last 11 games.

-- Blue Jackets C T.J. Tynan played in his first NHL game. The 25-year-old was selected 66th overall in the 2011 draft by Columbus.

-- The scratches for Columbus were D Scott Harrington, D Ryan Murray (lower body) and F Josh Anderson (lower body).

-- Devils captain Andy Greene missed his third straight game (personal).

-- F Michael Cammalleri (shoulder) and C Jacob Josefson (upper body) were the scratches for New Jersey.

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