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Bjorkstrand scores twice as Blue Jackets outlast Jets


EditorsNote: adds to third and sixth grafs

Oliver Bjorkstrand recorded his second straight two-goal performance following his return from a 13-game injury absence as the host Columbus Blue Jackets skated to a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night.

Defenseman Seth Jones collected a goal and an assist and Gustav Nyquist also tallied for the Blue Jackets, who won a season-high sixth game in a row and improved to 16-2-4 in their past 22 contests.

Columbus' Pierre-Luc Dubois notched three assists for the third time in his career and the second time this season. Bjorkstrand scored multiple goals in a third straight appearance, setting a franchise record.

Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins finished with 27 saves to continue his torrid stretch. The rookie has won five in a row and sports a 9-2-0 record since No. 1 goaltender Joonas Korpisalo went down with a knee injury.

After rallying from a trio of one-goal deficits, Columbus seized its first lead of the contest with 5:38 remaining in the third period. Bjorkstrand capped his fourth multi-goal performance in his last six games by skating in from the right circle and beating Laurent Brossoit (25 saves) for his team-leading 16th tally of the season.

Kyle Connor scored his team-leading 25th goal and had an assist for the Jets, who have lost four in a row and six of their past seven contests. Mason Appleton and defenseman Neal Pionk also tallied for Winnipeg.

Appleton cleaned up a rebound in the slot to open the scoring at 4:38 of the first period before Jones answered 88 seconds later following a hard drive to the net. Jones skated around Nikolaj Ehlers and Pionk before tucking the puck past Brossoit for his fifth goal of the season.

Connor deflected defenseman Anthony Bitetto's shot from the point to give Winnipeg a 2-1 lead with 2:54 remaining in the first period before Bjorkstrand answered with a one-timer 1:28 into the second.

Pionk's power-play shot from the point gave Winnipeg its third lead of the contest at 15:33 of the second.

However, Nyquist answered by poking home a loose puck for a power-play tally of his own with 2:05 left in the middle period.

--Field Level Media

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