Devils drop third straight in 2-1 loss to Blue Jackets

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Boone Jenner and Eric Robinson scored first-period goals and Elvis Merzlikins made 40 saves — including 22 in the third period — as the Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Devils 2-1 on Friday.

Columbus won for the second-straight time after a nine-game losing streak while New Jersey lost its third in a row and for the sixth time in seven games.

Jenner opened the scoring at 10:04 with his 11th of the season. Johnny Gaudreau had the assist. Jenner has 14 points overall.

Devils forward Alexander Holtz tied it at 13:15 of the first, snapping a wrist shot past Merzlikins for his fifth goal of the campaign. Ondrej Palat drew the lone assist.

Columbus had a four-minute power play late in the first period when Holtz was called for high-sticking but New Jersey snuffed it out.

Robinson followed that with his first goal and point of the season at 19:23, beating Devils netminder Akira Schmid on a breakaway. The 28-year-old forward, who played for Princeton and is a New Jersey native, has been with Columbus for parts of seven seasons. Justin Danforth and Erik Gudbranson assisted.

The Devils and their league-best power-play had a chance at 12:58 of the second but generated little against Merzlikins.

New Jersey had another man-advantage opportunity when Columbus was assessed a bench minor at 3:26 of the third during which Merzlikins made acrobatic saves on both Jack Hughes and Luke Hughes.

The Devils were coming off 4-0 loss at Detroit on Wednesday, the first time they were blanked after 101 games without being shut out.

New Jersey came out sluggishly against Columbus for the matinee start, generating only six shots in the first. The home team heard boos from the Prudential Center crowd after the second.

They dominated the third but could not solve Merzlikins for a tying goal.

Schmid made 27 saves in the defeat including a breakaway stop on Gaudreau midway through the third.

The Blue Jackets won 7-3 at home over Chicago on Wednesday to snap their nine-game losing streak.

Columbus is still last in the Metropolitan at 6-11-4 and have just two road wins at 2-5-3.

Former Devils defenseman Damon Severson was not able to play against his former team because of an upper-body injury.

Severson signed an eight-year contract with Columbus last summer after nine seasons with New Jersey.


Devils: Hosting Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Blue Jackets: Visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.