COLUMBUS, Ohio – If only the Devils could replicate this level of play in New Jersey, their playoff aspirations might not seem so bleak.
Taylor Hall scored twice, Travis Zajac had a goal and an assist and the Devils beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Saturday night for their sixth straight road victory. The win came after an overtime loss to Calgary at home on Friday night.
New Jersey is 7-0-1 on the road since the beginning of the year and has outscored opponents 21-10 in the last six road games. At home, the Devils are a dismal 1-5-2 in 2017.
"There's no real answer to why," New Jersey coach John Hynes said. "We've had some real good success on the road. I think we play a real good team game on the road. We just need to follow up with the intensity level and the commitment level we've played with on the road. We've got to bring that home."
The Devils got a terrific game from goaltender Cory Schneider. He had 31 saves, including a dozen in the third period when Columbus finally dialed up the intensity.
Jacob Josefson and Seth Helgeson also scored for New Jersey.
"We played the right way," Zajac said. "Our attention to detail was good. We played a simple game, but it was effective because of the hardness we played with."
The Blue Jackets dropped the second game of a back-to-back after losing to Pittsburgh in overtime on Friday night. They are 6-8-1 since their franchise record 16-game winning streak and were out of sync for the first two periods Saturday.
Matt Calvert finally scored for the Blue Jackets in the third period, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots.
"We certainly didn't have enough guys going," Columbus coach John Tortorella said.
As opposed to the Devils' first line of Hall, Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. They did much of the damage, with Palmieri getting an assist on Hall's first goal.
Hall scored 3:29 into the game when he slipped a backhand attempt past Bobrovsky on a rush after taking a nice drop pass from Zajac. Columbus defender Zach Werenski had dropped his stick at the center line and tried to get in Hall's way but couldn't prevent the goal, which was the 12th of the season for the wing.
The Blue Jackets bumbled through a pair of power plays in the first period, their first in three games since before the All-Star break.
"They've got the best power play in the league, so it could have been a different story early," Schneider said. "But our penalty killers came up huge."
The Devils went up 2-1 at 1:49 into the second. Josefson got his first goal of the season when he redirected Andy Greene's wrist shot into the net. Zajac got a power-play goal with 1:02 left when he tapped in a rebound off Bobrovsky's pads.
The Blue Jackets got a short-handed goal with 8:25 left in the game. Calvert got a slick pass from William Karlsson from the back wall and drilled it in from the slot.
New Jersey got an empty-net goal from Hall nine seconds after the Blue Jackets pulled their goalie with 3:12 left. Bobrovsky came back into the game only to be scored on by Helgeson with 29 seconds remaining.
NOTES: A Columbus goal early in the third period was waived off because of goalie interference. ... Columbus W Josh Anderson was scratched because of illness. ... D Markus Nutivaara was back in the lineup for the Blue Jackets after missing eight games with an unspecified injury, while D David Savard missed his third straight game with a bad back. ... New Jersey is 7-0-1 in its eight road games since the start of the year. ... The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Blue Jackets' TV ratings are up 110 percent from last season at this time. ... Columbus plays seven of its next eight games at Nationwide Arena.
New Jersey: Plays Buffalo at home on Monday.
Columbus: Plays at Detroit on Tuesday.
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