Denis key in Jackets' 4-2 win



Ray Whitney, Andrew Cassels and David Vyborny provided the offensive firepower.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Goaltender Marc Denis has at least one vote as the top player in the NHL so far this season.
"Marc Denis gives us the chance to win every game," Columbus defenseman Luke Richardson said after the Blue Jackets' 4-2 win Thursday night over the New Jersey Devils. "He's probably the MVP of the league to this point."
Ray Whitney had a goal and two assists, and Andrew Cassels and David Vyborny each had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets provided plenty of offensive support for Denis.
"We made one mistake tonight, and it was taking them too lightly," Devils coach Pat Burns said.
Denis had 40 saves, some in heavy traffic late in the game to preserve a one-goal lead that Tyler Wright doubled with an empty-net goal.
More power
Cassels' goal and assist both came on Columbus' rejuvenated power play.
The Blue Jackets scored on two of their first three power-play opportunities against the NHL's best team on the penalty kill.
The goals gave Columbus 31 on the power play this season. The Blue Jackets, last in the league in scoring last season, didn't have their 31st goal with a man advantage until Jan. 30.
"Our power play got two and we got the crowd in the game early," Coach Dave King said.
New Jersey had killed 14 consecutive penalties until the Blue Jackets scored on back-to-back power plays.
In addition to his 11th goal, Whitney tied a franchise record with his fifth game in a row with an assist. Cassels, a free-agent signing, set the mark earlier this season.
"We tried to shoot it as often as possible," Whitney said. "That won't guarantee you goals, but it puts them back on their heels."
Geoff Sanderson had an assist to stretch his point streak to five games. Duvie Westcott picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Vyborny's goal that made it 3-1 late in the second period.
Scott Niedermayer scored twice for the Devils, who came in allowing a league-best two goals a game.
"When you score three goals against them, you've got to make sure you win the game," Denis said. "I don't know if you ever get to a comfort level, but you're at least in the driver's seat. You don't want to play catch-up hockey against a good defensive team like that."
Niedermayer made things interesting when he scored on a slap shot from the right point with 2:51 remaining. The Devils swarmed the net for the next minute and had several prime scoring chances, but Denis was there each time.

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