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Nylander gets 1st career hat trick, Tarasov makes 37 saves as Blue Jackets beat Golden Knights 6-3

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Alexander Nylander posted his first career hat trick, Daniil Tarasov made 37 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-3 on Monday night, posting back-to-back wins for the first time in more than three months.

“The magic happens when you start having confidence in your teammates, and that’s what we’ve been seeing recently," first-year Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said.

Nylander, younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs star William Nylander, has been a big contributor. He has four goals and two assists in five games since being acquired by Columbus in a trade for Emil Bemstrom on Feb. 22.

The 26-year-old had zero points in five games this season with Pittsburgh before being dealt to the Blue Jackets.

“This is a really good spot for me," he said. "They gave me a great opportunity here, so I’m really happy.”

Justin Danforth, Erik Gudbranson and Yegor Chinakhov also scored for the last-place Blue Jackets, who strung together two straight wins for the first time since Nov. 22 and Nov. 24. They beat Chicago 5-2 on Saturday.

Mason Morelli, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson scored for Vegas, and Adin Hill had 27 stops. The defending Stanley Cup champions have lost three straight and six of the last seven.

Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy had some sharp criticism for his team.

“They wanted the puck more than we did," Cassidy said. "It’s going to happen sometimes, but our will right now to compete on pucks just isn’t good enough to win consistently in this league, and that’s exactly what we’re going through.”

Early offensive pressure by the Blue Jackets led to Danforth's 10th goal of the season and first in 25 games when he beat Hill 6:16 into the game.

Later in the first, Alexandre Texier shoveled a pass out to Nylander, who scored on a rebound after his first attempt from the doorstep shot was stopped by Hill.

The Columbus lead wouldn't last long. Morelli's deft wraparound goal — his third in eight NHL games — was followed 42 seconds later by Karlsson's hard shot from the right circle, his team-leading 22nd goal of the season.

Gudbranson's slap shot from the right circle went over Hill's shoulder and gave Columbus a 3-2 lead late in the second. It was third-line defenseman's fourth of the year and first in 28 games.

Nylander got his second of the night on a breakaway after creating a turnover and leading the rush early in the third period. After Stephenson's one-timer cut the deficit to one goal early in third, Chinakhov connected from the slot to push the Columbus lead back to two.

“I wasn’t thinking about (a hat trick) until the end,” Nylander said.

Nylander's third was an empty-netter with 1:11 left in the game.

“We played well, and I think we’re feeling a little bit of confidence, which has been hard to find lately and even through last year," Gudbranson said.

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: Host Vancouver on Thursday.

Blue Jackets: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press