Bjorkstrand Leads Blue Jackets Past Jets for 6th Straight

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice, Elvis Merzlikins stopped 27 shots, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.

Bjorkstrand broke the tie with a top-shelf shot over the shoulder of Winnipeg goalie Laurent Brossoit with 5:38 left in the game. Bjorkstrand had his second two-goal game in a row since missing 13 games with a rib/oblique injury.

Seth Jones and Gustav Nyquist also scored for the Blue Jackets, who go into the All-Star break and their NHL-required winter break 16-2-4 since Dec. 9. Merzlikins won his fifth straight start, and Pierre-Luc Dubois tied a career-high with three assists.

Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist, and Mason Appleton and Neal Pionk also scored for Winnipeg, Brossoit finished with 25 saves.

Kyle Connor Winnipeg Jets
Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Winnipeg scored on its first shot 4:38 into the game when Appleton jumped on a loose puck in the slot and rifled a shot past Merzlikins’ glove.

The Blue Jackets tied it quickly when Jones got a drop pass from Nick Foligno on the left wing, drove in hard and slipped a shot between Brossoit’s pads. The goal was the first for the All-Star defenceman in 23 games.

Connor put the Jets up 2-1 late in the first when he deflected in Anthony Bitetto’s shot from the blue line.

Bjorkstrand got his first of the game to tie the score again early in the second period after a back and forth exchange with Dubois.

Oliver Bjorkstrand Columbus Blue Jackets
Oliver Bjorkstrand, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Eight seconds into a power play late in the second, Pionk found the back of the net through traffic from the point to put the Jets up 3-2. Columbus answered with a power-play goal of its own, with Nyquist diving to tap in loose puck in the blue paint.


Columbus F Sonny Milano was a healthy scratch and was absent on an unspecified personal matter. … Dubois has 10 points in his last nine games.


Jets: After the All-Star break and league-mandated winter break, they’ll host Boston on Jan. 31.

Blue Jackets: Also with back-to-back breaks, they’ll play next at Buffalo on Feb. 1.


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Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press