COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets snapped the St. Louis Blues’ season-high, six-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory on Friday night.
Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Marian Gaborik also had goals for Columbus, which continued its climb from cellar-dweller to playoff contention. The Blue Jackets, 11-1-3 in their past 15 home games, were last in the NHL after a 5-12-2 start but have earned points in 18 of 22 games since (13-4-5).
Kevin Shattenkirk made it 1-0 for the Blues, who went with rookie Jake Allen in goal instead of Brian Elliott, who has posted three shutouts in a row.
The Blue Jackets were almost in a must-win situation. They started the night tied for 10th in the Western Conference with 41 points, three behind eighth-place Detroit. The Blues were firmly entrenched in sixth with 48 points.
Columbus will now embark on a six-game trip to Minnesota, Colorado, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Dallas before closing the regular season at home on April 27 against Nashville.
SENATORS 2, DEVILS 0
In Newark, N.J., Craig Anderson made 33 saves in his third shutout of the season, and Ottawa sent sliding New Jersey to its ninth consecutive loss.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Milan Michalek second-period goals for the Senators, who won for the second consecutive night, following a five-game skid, to boost their playoff chances.
Ottawa, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, leads ninth-place Winnipeg by four points.
New Jersey is 10th, eight points behind Ottawa and four behind the New York Rangers and the postseason cutoff with seven games to play.
The Senators will finish a season-high, seven-game trip at Boston on Monday. They will then play five of their final six at home, where they are 13-3-3.
The defending East champion Devils dropped to 0-5-4 without injured star forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The slide is one game shy of the franchise mark, set early in the 1983-84 season.
Kovalchuk appears close to returning to the lineup, but it might be too late for the Devils.
As has been the case in recent weeks, New Jersey seemed to control the territorial play and the shot count, but it didn’t help produce any goals.
Despite outshooting the Senators 23-9 in the opening 40 minutes and getting an early two-man advantage for the second straight game, the Devils trailed 2-0 heading into the third period.
Pageau, called up from Binghamton of the AHL on Wednesday, earned an assist that night in the win at Philadelphia and scored his first NHL goal in his second game.
Erik Condra intercepted a pass around the boards by Devils defenseman Mark Fayne and tried to center it from deep in the right corner. The puck deflected off Devils center Andrei Loktionov, and went right to Colin Greening between the circles.
Greening sent a backhander toward goalie Martin Brodeur, and Pageau came out from behind the net and tipped the puck over Brodeur’s shoulder at 3:08.
It was the Senators’ first legitimate shot on goal after they had three in the first period.
Michalek, who had missed the previous 15 games and 25 of 27 because of injuries, scored his third goal of the season.
The play started when Devils defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Henrik Tallinder collided near the Senators’ blue line. Michalek skated the puck down the left side on a 2-on-1 rush, made a pass to Daniel Alfredsson coming down the middle, and then took the return pass for a shot into a wide open net.
The Devils had chances to get back into it.
Steve Sullivan was stopped by Anderson early on a shot from between the circles and then had a rebound hit off the post seconds later. Zidlicky had a couple of shots on the two-man advantage in the first period that lasted for 1:24, and Matt D’Agostini was stopped on a good chance from between the circles.
Anderson’s best save probably was a stick stop on Ryan Carter late in the second period after a Senators turnover during a power play set up a 2-on-1, short-handed chance.
NOTES: Anderson is 6-2-1 against the Devils. ... New Jersey is 3 of 33 on the power play without Kovalchuk in this losing streak. ... The Devils’ next two games are on the road: at Toronto and Philadelphia. ... When the Devils lost 10 straight in 83-84, they started that season 2-20. ... New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov sat out the first game of a four-game suspension for elbowing Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head on Wednesday. Devils captain and fellow defenseman Bryce Salvador missed the game because of a wrist injury sustained in the same game after he was hit by Zdeno Chara’s shot.