AVALANCHE 3 | BLUE JACKETS 2 (OT)
For nearly 50 minutes of tonight's game, the Blue Jackets were in good shape and had the Colorado Avalanche figured out. But all it takes is one bounce to get things started, and tonight, the visitors got a trio of them to turn the game around.
AVALANCHE 3 | JACKETS 2 (OT)
There were five goals scored in the game, and all five were directly impacted by a Blue Jackets player. Columbus scored the first two - a bang-bang play from behind the net that was cashed in by Cam Atkinson at 10:52 of the second period, and five minutes later, a fortuitous bounce that became a 2-on-0 for Nick Foligno and Blake Comeau. The end result of that rush was Comeau's fourth goal of the season, and a two-goal lead for the Jackets headed to the third period.
Sergei Bobrovsky made several key stops for the Jackets in this game, but the ones he could not stop were nearly impossible. Brad Malone got Colorado on the board midway through the third period by banking a puck off Nick Foligno from below the goal line and in, and that wasn't the last of the funky bounces.
Gabriel Landeskog scored his first of two with 4:57 to play, again getting a friendly richocet in front of the net to even it up at 2-2. The Blue Jackets had their chances down the stretch but couldn't beat Varlamov, including a point-blank chance for Comeau in the final minute that was turned aside.
A holding penalty to Artem Anisimov at 2:39 of overtime sent the Avalanche to a 4-on-3 power play, and the Jackets had all but 11 seconds of it taken care of...before another carrom wound up in their net. Landeskog fired from a sharp angle (may have been an attempted pass), off Jack Johnson's skate and into the net with 32.2 seconds remaining in sudden death.
With the single point, the Blue Jackets maintain a one-point lead over Toronto for the second wild card spot with two games in hand on the Maple Leafs.
The Avalanche were the better team for most of the third period, but they were struggling to get quality chances before breaking the seal at 9:46. Malone's goal - just his second of the season - jump-started Colorado at a time when it was desperately needed.
1. GABRIEL LANDESKOG (COL)
In the absence of Matt Duchene, the Avalanche needed more from guys like Landeskog, and their captain stepped up in a big way tonight.
2. BRANDON DUBINSKY (CBJ)
One of the Jackets' most noticeable players, Dubinsky nearly 18 minutes and fired six shots on goal, while setting up the Atkinson goal with a big-time heads-up play.
3. MATT CALVERT (CBJ)
Calvert was all over the rink tonight, tenacious on the forecheck and wreaking havocin the offensive zone. A well-deserved third star.
AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
THURSDAY, 7 P.M.
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