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Jackets Hold Off Wild For Third Consecutive Victory

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Rostislav Klesla had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night for their third straight victory.

Dan Fritsche and Anson Carter also scored, and David Vyborny added two assists for the Blue Jackets, who have won four of five. They began the day 13 points behind Minnesota for last Western Conference playoff spot.

Columbus goalie Fredrick Norrena left the game late in the second period with a lower body injury and did not return. Third-stringer Ty Conklin finished the game for the Blue Jackets, who have been playing since Dec. 26 without injured starter Pascal Leclaire.

Brian Rolston and Pascal Dupuis scored for the Wild, who snapped their franchise best four-game road winning streak. The Wild haven't won in Columbus since 2002, a span of eight games.

Columbus capitalized on a lengthly two-man advantage early in the first period with Kim Johnsson in the penalty box serving a double minor and Petteri Nummelin joining him for hooking.

After setting up the play in the zone, Klesla took a short pass from Vyborny and ripped a slot shop from the point past Manny Fernandez at 8:29 to open the scoring.

Columbus continued to pressure and Fritsche scored his 11th, redirectioning Vyborny's shot just 54 seconds later to make it 2-0.

Minnesota had their own two-man chance in the period, which started just 9 seconds in but they didn't threaten.

The Blue Jackets increased their led to 3-0 midway through the second period, moments after another power-play chance expired.

Nick Shultz blocked Klesla's point shot, but Jason Chimera stick checked Shultz in the slot and the puck squirted free to Carter. He snapped a quick one-time shot for his eighth and first in a month.

Columbus gave Minnesota another crack at a 5-on-3 late in the period.

Zenon Konopka took a high sticking penalty at 15:56 and Adam Foote followed with a delay of game penalty 3 seconds later.

Rolston scored his 25th just 3 seconds into the advantage, firing a slap shot from the high-left circle at 16:10 past Norrena, who was hurt on the play.

Norrena finished with 20 saves, and Conklin had 15.

Minnesota carried the play most of the third period, outshooting the Blue Jackets 12-3.

Dupuis got around Rick Nash and tipped in a cross ice pass from Mikko Koivu on a rush to pull to 3-2 at 11:29. Wes Walz hit the post with 4 minutes left and Minnesota buzzed around the Columbus net the final minutes of the game.

Game notes
Columbus is 15-1-4 when scoring first. ... Rolston has five goals and three assists in four games this season against the Blue Jackets. ... Konopka, acquired in a trade Friday with Anaheim, made his first appearance. ... Columbus finished 2-for-7 on the power play while the Wild went 1-for-9.

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