Blue Jackets clinch third playoff berth in franchise history after win over Devils
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Lukas Sedlak and Brandon Dubinsky scored on penalty shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched their third playoff berth in franchise history with a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
This was only the third time in NHL history that a team scored twice in a game on penalty shots. Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hlinka of Vancouver did it against Detroit in 1982, and Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton of San Jose converted against Washington in 2009.
The win was the fourth straight for the Blue Jackets, gave them their first 100-point season and moved them into a tie with Washington for the NHL's best record with 11 games left. Columbus, which joined the league in 2000, last made the playoffs in 2014.
Boone Jenner added two goals, one short-handed and the other into an empty net. Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves for Columbus, which is 12-3-1 in its last 16 games.
Adam Henrique scored for the Devils, whose season is all but over after falling to 1-10-2 in its last 13.
Columbus, which was its second game in as many days, jumped to a 2-0 lead with a pair of short-handed goals on the Devils' first two power plays.
Sedlak, who was in the lineup because Alexander Wennberg was hurt on Saturday against the Islanders, was taken down by Devils defenseman Andy Greene on a breakaway a minute after Josh Anderson was sent off for tripping.
On his penalty shot, Sedlak skated to the edge of the right circle, cut toward the middle and beat Cory Schneider with a low shot to the left corner for his seventh goal.
With Matt Calvert off for tripping, Jenner outworked three Devils behind the net to gain control of the puck and eventually knocked the rebound of Jack Johnson's shot off Schneider at 10:23 for his 15th goal.
Henrique got the Devils back into the game just seven seconds later, breaking in after taking a pass from Pavel Zacha and sliding the puck between the legs of Bobrovsky.
Dubinsky converted the second penalty shot at 6:28 of the second period after Anderson was taken down on a breakaway by Dalton Prout. Anderson was hurt on the play and there was some confusion about who would take the shot.
Columbus coach John Tortorella initially sent out Sam Gagner to take it, but the officials ruled that he was not on the ice at the time of the penalty. Dubinsky took it, beating Schneider high to the left corner with a move similar to the one by Sedlak.
NOTES: The Devils dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. ... The Blue Jackets, who first made the playoffs in 2009, won the season series 3-1. ... Anderson returned to the ice in the second period and quickly had an end-to-end rush. ...Bobrovsky has won seven straight. ... Columbus has never won a playoff series.
Blue Jackets: Host Toronto on Wednesday night.
Devils: Host the Rangers on Tuesday night.