Devils overwhelm Blue Jackets 7-1, Vanecek wins 3rd straight

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Fabian Zetterland scored late in the first, Nico Hischier and defenseman Ryan Graves scored 33 seconds apart early in the second and Vitek Vanecek made 19 saves for the surging New Jersey Devils, who routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-1 on Sunday.

Defensemen John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler, Jesper Bratt and Miles Wood also scored for New Jersey and Vanecek won his third straight.

The Devils bombarded the Blue Jackets with 52 shots and won for the sixth time in seven games after losing twice to start the season. Columbus lost its third in a row.

Zetterlund opened the scoring with about seven minutes left in the first with a rocket past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins for his first of the season. Hischier drew the assist.

The Devils dominated the first, outshooting the visitors 20-5. Hischier made it 2-0 at 3:22 of the second with an unassisted goal to give him four goals and five assists in eight games this season.

Defenseman Ryan Graves netted his first of the season at 3:55, with assists from Jack Hughes and Bratt.

It extended Bratt’s season-opening points streak to nine games. And Hughes, who scored the lone goal in Friday’s 1-0 home win over the Colorado Avalanche, now has three goals and five assists.

Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov broke through at 6:39 of the second period with his second goal of the season.

Marino put the home team ahead 4-1 with an unassisted goal — his first of the season and first with New Jersey — with about 20 seconds left in the second. In the third period, Siegenthaler made it 5-1, Bratt increased the lead to 6-1 and Wood completed the scoring.

Columbus is 3-7-0 to start the season, last in the Metropolitan Division.

The crowd at Prudential Center booed Columbus' Johnny Gaudreau, a New Jersey native who spurned the Devils as a free agent last summer, every time he touched the puck.


Before the game, the Devils honored former defenseman Ken Daneyko for his four decades with the franchise as a three-time Stanley Cup winner and longtime broadcaster. Daneyko dropped the ceremonial puck.


The Devils haven’t allowed more than 25 shots in a game this season.


Devils: Visit Vancouver on Tuesday to start a three-game trip through western Canada.

Blue Jackets: In Finland to play the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 4 in first of two games there as part of the NHL Global Series.


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Allan Kreda, The Associated Press