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Blue Jackets win ugly game

The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a game riddled with turnovers, breakdowns, juicy rebounds and bad goals, the Columbus Blue Jackets emerged victorious. Style points, no. But two points just the same.

"It wasn't pretty," Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky said. "And yet it was beautiful."

Dubinsky and right winger Cam Atkinson each had the first four-point game of his career, and the Blue Jackets came back from two early deficits to beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 Tuesday night in Nationwide Arena.

Atkinson had two goals and two assists, while Dubinsky had one goal and three assists. Left winger Matt Calvert and left winger Nick Foligno also scored for the Jackets, while goaltender Curtis McElhinney, subbing for injured starter Sergei Bobrovsky, had 30 saves.

Foligno's goal came with 91 seconds remaining and broke a 4-4 tie.

"It was sloppy. It was ugly," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "We baited them into playing that kind of game, I think, just with the way we were playing early on.

"But winning a game like this is big for a young team. It says something about resilience, it really does."

New Jersey got two goals from Damien Brunner, and one each from Travis Zajac and Michael Ryder, while goaltender Martin Brodeur finished with 18 saves. It was not a memorable night for Brodeur, a future Hall-of-Famer.

"You don't ever expect to score five goals against Marty Brodeur," Atkinson said. "You don't ever expect to score one, much less two goals. I should have kept the pucks. The guy's a legend."

The Devils scored only 32 seconds in the game and had a 3-1 lead 1:08 into the second period. The Blue Jackets hadn't won a game when they trailed after the first period all season.

But the Blue Jackets' No. 2 line -- Calvert, Dubinsky and Atkinson - scored two goals only 49 seconds apart in the second period to tie it at 3. Dubinsky poked home a loose puck behind Brodeur at 4:19 and Atkinson scored from the doorstep at 5:08.

"Between a big save or our guys finding a way to stop the bleeding, we have to hold that (lead)," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Up 3-1, we have to put that game away. You're not going to move into the upper echelon of teams until you start to do that."

Early in the third, the line struck again. Dubinsky went around Brunner for a clean look at Brodeur, and Calvert was there to finish the rebound for a 4-3 lead after only 18 seconds.

"Hockey's a funny game," Dubinsky said. "We had some shifts where we were really on, and we had some shifts where we really struggled. It was just all over the map, but it's fun when it comes together and you're able to put up points like that."

The Devils pulled into 4-4 tie with 6:01 remaining, when Brunner potted his second of the night off a rebound.

The Blue Jackets avoided overtime against a Metropolitan Division opponent in the final two minutes. A centering pass from Ryan Johansen kicked off Foligno's right skate and into the net, to break the tie.

NOTES: Devils D Marek Zidlicky returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. He took D Peter Harrold's spot in the lineup. ... Blue Jackets RW Marian Gaborik has skated daily for more than a week and could join the club for practice at some point next week. Gaborik has been out since Nov. 14 with a sprained knee. ... Blue Jackets RW Jack Skille was a healthy scratch for a third straight game.
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