ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — James Wisniewski scored the go-ahead goal, had two assists and made a critical defensive play in the crease late in the third period to help the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Monday.
Brandon Dubinsky scored early for the Blue Jackets, and Scott Hartnell tipped in Wisniewski’s shot with 3:03 left to seal the victory for goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The All-Star made 25 saves to improve to 5-1 in his career against the Wild and win for the first time in five starts. Bobrovsky posted a 3.55 goals-against average in those previous four losses.
Zach Parise scored for the Wild, who fell to 4-9-4 over their last 17 games.
All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter returned to the first blue-line pairing for the Wild after serving a two-game suspension by the NHL for an elbow to the head, but he was on the ice for all three scores by the Blue Jackets.
After Erik Haula was called for tripping, his second penalty of the game, Nick Foligno sneaked behind the net on the power play to find Wisniewski for a one-timer as Suter was late to arrive from across the slot at the 5:35 mark of the final period.
The Wild nearly tied it after Parise’s shot skipped off Bobrovsky, when the puck landed in the crease and sat there untouched for a second. Jason Pominville swooped in for the rebound, but Wisniewski dived across the goal mouth to thwart the threat.
Devan Dubnyk started in the net for Minnesota for the third straight game since his arrival via trade from Arizona. He dropped his first decision with his new team, stopping 20 shots, after the Wild won his first two starts by a total of 10-1 behind his 43 saves.
Dubinsky’s long-range rip from the right circle midway through the first period scraped the upper corner of the net to give Columbus the early lead. That was only the second time in 18 games Dubinsky has played in this season that he scored. He had two goals on Jan. 4 at Colorado.
The Wild started using their speed to stretch the ice, and after a hooking call on Dalton Prout they had their first power play. Both Parise and Thomas Vanek swung at Mikko Koivu’s slap shot, and Parise nicked it with his stick past Bobrovsky for the tie.
This was Parise’s third straight game with a goal, and he had a prime opportunity for another one in the second period when David Savard pulled him down on a breakaway to draw the penalty shot. But after a couple of dekes in the slot, Parise lost control of the puck as it neared Bobrovsky’s stick and didn’t get a shot on the net.
The Wild thought they took the lead a little later when Savard was whistled for a high stick to the chin of Jason Zucker, but Savard played the puck to try to clear it and thus initiate the stoppage of time. Ryan Suter knocked it in, but the officials waved the goal off after a review. The Wild didn’t generate any momentum on their four-minute power play.
NOTES: The Blue Jackets made RW Jared Boll a healthy scratch for the first time this season. RW Jack Skille came off injured reserve to take his spot on the fourth line after missing four games with a lower-body injury. … Vanek turned 31 on Monday. … Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper was taken off injured reserve after missing six games because of a lower-body injury. He could play on Tuesday at Detroit. So could center Mikael Granlund, who has missed the last 12 games with a broken left wrist. … Ryan Johansen’s streak of 13 straight games with at least one point, the longest active run in the league, ended.
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