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POST GAME: Blue Jackets 3, Ducks 2 (OT)

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

BLUE JACKETS (21-16-7) 3, DUCKS (27-10-6) 2 -- OVERTIME


Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards admitted that his team took a peek at the standings between periods and saw the door open following Detroit's loss in Calgary. All they did next was shake off a bad bounce and barge into the party unannounced.

Forget the introduction, let's get right down the deets: the Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game tonight, climbed into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference and won their third consecutive game to start this six-game road trip.

Anyone not having fun yet?

As has been their hallmark since turning their season around in late February, the Blue Jackets never gave in tonight despite some strong play from Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth and a mega-fluky go-ahead goal for Anaheim in the third period. They were the better hockey team in this game and stuck to their recipe for success that worked well against the Ducks in their last meeting at Nationwide Arena -- winning puck battles, shutting down the Anaheim cycle game and out-working their defense below the goal line.

Those keys were apparent in the way they won this game: Blake Comeau's tying goal in the second period was the result of James Wisniewski getting to a loose puck on the half wall and firing it into open space occupied by Comeau's stick blade - re-directing it off the post and behind Fasth to pull the Jackets even.

Dave Steckel was credited with one of the most bizarre goals you'll ever see, as the puck was deflected high into the air and out of sight for seemingly everyone in the building...until it fell out of the sky and spun back into the net to give the Ducks an early third period lead. Much like Monday's game in Colorado, the Blue Jackets didn't flinch and got right back in the saddle after the go-ahead goal.

Brandon Dubinsky - who has brought so many intangibles to this group on and off the ice - worked his way to the front of the net midway through the third period, sending a backhander into the crease that popped out to Matt Calvert who made no mistake in roofing it to even things up once again. The Jackets had a chance to win it late, too, with a power play chance born from a Ducks too many men on the ice penalty in the closing minutes of regulation.

But it was Nick Foligno making it happen in overtime for the second straight game, button-hooking at the offensive blue line and sending a flutter pass to the net that Tyutin artfully deflected between Fasth's pads for the game-winner at 2:19 of overtime.

Calvert's goal was the epitome of this team's personality: resilience in the face of adversity time and time again. They kept plugging away, and his line was the catalyst even before he notched the tying goal. His ninth of the season was the next biggest goal of the season for the Blue Jackets, who played well enough to deserve the lead long before they got it.

- Comeau was part of a Blue Jackets fourth line that set the tone for the second straight game, laying the body and establishing their forechecking presence from the outset. His tying goal was the second huge goal he's scored in as many games, as he gave the Jackets a 2-1 lead in the third period in Denver.

- Dubinsky's night: he played 19:35, picked up the primary assist on Calvert's game-tying goal, had a +1 rating and went 17-for-25 in the face-off circle. He's quickly becoming one of the Jacket' most valuable and versatile players in his short time in Columbus, and they're a much better team with him in the lineup.

- Nikita Nikitin (lower body) played just three shifts in the third period and did not return. Richards said he would be further evaluated on Thursday in Los Angeles.

- Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't called upon nearly as often as he was on Monday, but he was solid and steady when needed against the Ducks. He made a huge pad save on Andrew Cogliano in the third period that stands out as one of his best on the night.

- How about Dalton Prout? It seems ages ago when he was hopping in a cab and frantically trying to get to United Center mid-game in Chicago. He played 21:58 tonight - most of those minutes against the Ducks' top six forwards - picked up an assist and improved his team-best +/- rating to +14 on the season in just 28 games played.

at Los Angeles Kings
Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, Calif.

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