COLUMBUS, Ohio -- James Wisniewski said he woke up a flu-ridden mess at 6 a.m. Monday. The Blue Jackets defenseman missed the morning skate, but spent the entire day filling his body with fluids so he'd be ready to face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena.
Man, was he ready.
Wisniewski had one goal and two assists, leading the way as the Blue Jackets scored four unanswered goals to win 4-1.
Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson and Marian Gaborik also scored for the Blue Jackets, who earned their first win over New Jersey since Dec. 11, 2005, a span of five games (0-4-1).
"I have absolutely no energy right now," Wisniewski said. "I pumped my fist when the (final) buzzer sounded.
"But I wanted to be a part of this. We needed this game. We didn't get off to a great start. We've got to make some hay now with these games in our home building."
Michael Ryder scored the game's first goal to give the Devils the advantage in the first period.
Devils goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 20 of 23 shots, but his busiest stretch was late in the game.
The Blue Jackets trailed 1-0 and went more than seven minutes into the second before getting a shot on Schneider.
"I've played these guys so many times, so I knew what it was going to be like," said Dubinsky, who spent the first five years of his NHL career with the New York Rangers. "You have to be patient. They give you a false sense of security.
"But once we got going, we were fine. I thought we dominated the rest of the game."
Midway through the second period, Wisniewski's power-play shot from the right point caromed off teammate R.J. Umberger on its way to Schneider. The puck rested momentarily in the crease after Schneider failed to glove it cleanly before Dubinsky dove into the crease and poked home the rebound to make it 1-1.
Atkinson scored on a backhand flipper from the high slot with 4:30 remaining in the second to make it 2-1.
The lead grew to 3-1 at 4:12 of the third period when Wisniewski's wrister from the top of the slot was redirected by Devils defenseman Mark Fayne's stick.
Gaborik's empty-net goal with 24.4 seconds remaining provided the final margin.
"I felt like they jumped us in the second period and put us back on our heels," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "But once we got the power play goal, we got energy."
The game took a physical turn in the third.
At 8:18, Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll blasted Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov along the boards, sending him flat on his back and his stick soaring.
Volchenkov was wobbly on his way back to the bench, but on his next shift he hammered Dubinsky with a clean open-ice hit that led to Dubinsky taking a roughing penalty.
The Devils dropped to 0-5-2 on the road.
"We're all searching for answers," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "When you go on the road and play these big, strong teams, you have to have 20 guys prepared to be in the fight and win battles. You can't go win with 15-16 guys.
"We didn't do enough to win here tonight."
NOTES: Attendance was 14,357. ... Devils RW Jaromir Jagr played his 1,400th NHL game. ... Devils LW Patrik Elias did not travel with the club. He's missed two games with the flu. ... The Devils and Blue Jackets have played only 11 times during Columbus' first 12 seasons in the NHL, but that will change now that they're both in the Metropolitan Division. ... New Jersey C Damien Brunner returned after missing two games with the flu. ... Blue Jackets LW Nick Foligno told The Columbus Dispatch that his three-game absence for "personal reasons" was because his infant daughter was born with a heart condition that required a brief hospitalization.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- James Wisniewski
- Brandon Dubinsky
- New Jersey Devils
- Cory Schneider