After losing the first five games of their road trip, including a controversial 3-2 loss at Los Angeles two nights earlier, there was joy in a happy locker room after the Jackets beat Anaheim 3-2 Friday on Derick Brassard's second goal of the game with 1:05 remaining in overtime.
Brassard picked up the puck along the left boards in his own zone, carried all the way up ice on a 2-on-1 break and ripped a slap shot from the left circle past Jonas Hiller.
"It feels good, especially after what happened the last game in L.A.," Brassard said of the last-second loss to the Kings. "We worked really hard and yesterday we had a day off. It's always tough to come to the West Coast and play some good teams. We just stuck with it."
Said interim coach Todd Richards, "It makes the plane ride home a lot easier."
Columbus' 0-5-1 skid was its longest since it began the season 0-7-1. The Jackets killed four of five penalties in the second period and came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits.
"They got a lot of shots and they got their chances on the power play because they have good players," said goalie Curtis Sanford, who made 33 saves.
"But for the most part, I thought our guys did a good job of neutralizing a pretty good power play. We blocked a lot of shots tonight, which was huge and those are the things that we just have to keep doing. No matter where we are in the standing, we have to keep doing the right things."
The victory negated what appeared to be a great story for Teemu Selanne, who recorded career goals Nos. 654 and 655.
But an Anaheim team that was 9-2-1 in its previous 12 games couldn't take full advantage of nearly nine minutes of power-play time, scoring just once.
"It should have been won (on the power play)," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We didn't do enough. I told them before they scored the goal, ‘I don't know why I'm putting you guys out there. I must be a fool for punishment. I'm putting you guys out there because you're the best we got.'
"We got a lucky break when we scored. Those are opportunities against a team that's struggling. You got to score two or three and get a two-goal lead and then all of a sudden, on the road, they'll want to go home. But you let them hang around long enough."
Brassard recorded his first overtime goal and the first two-goal game of his career.
"I just tried to trust my shot," he said. "I'm practicing to try to go short side there. It just happens. I'm really happy."
The winning goal came after Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler got caught trying to pinch.
"I was trying to get in and create some offense down low," Fowler said. "Saku (Koivu) made a good play to get it to me. I thought I had a little bit more time that I did … it's up to me to know my surroundings. I just have to make a better play. There is one minute left in the game. It was just too high risk. It was a mistake on my part."
Anaheim led 2-1 after 40 minutes, but Jeff Carter tied it by scoring in his first game back from a separated shoulder -- an injury coincidentally suffered at Anaheim on Jan. 8. Carter, who clanged a rocket of a wrist shot off the post in the first period, easily backhanded in a great pass by Antoine Vermette just over than two minutes into the third with Sheldon Brookbank serving a cross-checking penalty.
Both teams had prime chances to win before Brassard's winner. Anaheim's Corey Perry hit the post with 5:57 to go in regulation. Hiller made a pad save on Vermette with 3:08 remaining in overtime.
That Jan. 8 meeting was extremely ugly with an illegal hit and numerous roughing and boarding penalties between the teams.
Columbus vowed to be more disciplined but it gave Anaheim five power plays in the second period alone, the fourth of which was a bench minor for too many men that led to Selanne's second goal. Perry sent a pretty cross-ice saucer pass from below the goal line to the left side and Selanne masterfully one-timed it home at 16:52 for a 2-1 lead.
Selanne's first goal came 1:46 into the game after a heavy, high shot from Lubomir Visnovsky from the right point that squeezed out from under Sanford. Selanne tapped in the rebound with former teammate Samuel Pahlsson trying to stop him.
The 41-year-old is one goal shy of tying Brendan Shanahan for 12th on the all-time goal-scoring list. He has 40 points in 35 career games against Columbus.
Brassard tied it at 14:47 of the second when he was left open to pound home Rick Nash's rebound after Hiller couldn't control John Moore's shot.
Columbus defenseman Brett Lebda left the game with an injury in the first period and did not return.
Anaheim's Jason Blake returned from a foot injury and saw time on a tweaked first power play unit that saw Ryan Getzlaf at the point with Selanne, Perry and Blake up front.