Foligno had his second career hat trick and added an assist to lead the Blue Jackets to a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
“It’s nice to contribute and help the guys in that department,” said Foligno, who set a career high with four points. “It’s something I pride myself on but I was more proud of the way we played.”
Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinksy — playing his 600th career game — and Rene Bourque also scored, and Calvert and Karlsson each had three assists as the Blue Jackets improved to 8-2-3 in their last 13 games.
Steady rookie Joonas Korpisalo made 25 saves and is 10-2-3 in his past 14 starts.
“It was a pretty special night,” Calvert said. “Points haven’t come easy for myself and Bill, too.”
Reid Boucher scored for New Jersey, which lost for the fourth time in five games. Seeking a career-high 27th win, Cory Schneider, who entered with a league low 2.06 goals-against-average, gave up three goals on 11 shots in the first period. He was replaced by Keith Kinkaid to start the second period and gave up three more goals on the 13 shots he faced.
Columbus jumped ahead 3-0 in the first period and overcame a brief blip in the second period.
“It was nice to see just the hustle and the way we played to start the game,” Foligno said. “The attention was there, the focus was there. I knew we were going to have a good night because of it.”
Foligno scored twice early just under three minutes apart, benefiting from tenacious play of linemate Calvert.
On the first score, Calvert hunted down the puck deep in the Devils’ zone and fed Foligno, who scored his first in 15 games from the low slot at 5:20.
Then Calvert sped into the zone, spinning around a defender to get a shot on goal. Schneider pushed the puck into traffic with Foligno scoring on a bank shot off the goalie from the side of the net.
Calvert was at it again late in the period, dishing a long cross-ice pass to Saad in the right circle. Saad beat Schneider on a low shot with 47 seconds left with his career high-tying 23rd.
“It was just one of those nights where we had some chances and we score,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said.
Boucher got New Jersey on the board 1:38 into the second period, converting a saucer pass from Travic Zajac at the back post giving the Devils some life. New Jersey carried the momentum for a big chunk but they couldn’t beat Korpisalo, who was stout making a variety of difficult saves.
“I thought the key part of the game, quite honestly, even though it ends up being a 6-1 game, was the beginning of the second period when Korpisalo makes some great saves,” Tortorella said. “We were just sound asleep. They score another goal there, 3-2 it’s a different game.”
Joseph Blandisi almost did pull New Jersey within one with a little under 8 minutes to go but the play was ruled dead before he poked the puck from under Korpisalo into the net.
“It was a factor in the game just in the sense that it would have been nice to have a goal at that point,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “If we have an honest assessment of it we weren’t ready to play in the first period and that was the biggest difference in the game.”
Columbus soon struck with two more goals to make it 5-1. Foligno scored his third with 6 1/2 minutes to go in the middle period when his centring pass kicked off defenceman David Schlemko’s skate past Kinkaid for his ninth.
Five minutes later Dubinsky wristed a shot from the slot on the power play for his 17th on a nice behind-the-back pass from Foligno.
Bourque closed out the scoring on a breakaway with just over a minute left in the third.
“One game at a time you never know,” Calvert said. “That’s our mentality in here. We’re worried about getting better each day. We’re worried about the process. If we keep winning you never know what happens.”
NOTES: Karlsson’s three assist performance set a personal high. … Columbus has a five-game winning streak against the Devils. … It was the first time the Devils have allowed three goals in the first period this season. … Blue Jackets D Jack Johnson suffered an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return. … New Jersey hosts Tampa Bay on Friday.