Columbus improves to 6-0-1 in OT games
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Zherdev Ties It, Balastik Wins It in 4-3 Victory Over Chicago
Columbus improves to 6-0-1 in OT games

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
(AP) - Nikolai Zherdev tied the game with an acrobatic goal in the final seconds of regulation and Jaroslav Balastik scored in overtime to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.

Balastik took a pass from Radoslav Suchy for a slap shot from near the right faceoff dot to beat Nikolai Khabibulin 2:35 into the overtime and end the Blue Jackets' six-game losing streak. It was Balastik's sixth goal of the season and fourth in the last three games.

Zherdev tied it with 23 seconds left in regulation, skating end-to-end and muscling past four defenders in the Columbus zone before charging in on Khabibulin. Khabibulin stopped Zherdev's jam in the crease, but Zherdev tapped in the follow while flying through the air after the goalie knocked him off his skates.

The dramatic victory improved Columbus to 6-1 in overtime games and shootouts - and 4-25-0 in games decided in regulation.

Rostislav Klesla and Adam Foote had goals for Columbus, with Klesla and Zherdev each adding an assist and Ron Hainsey had two.

Martin Lapointe, Anton Babchuk and Duncan Keith scored for the Blackhawks, who have lost four in a row and six of seven.

The Blackhawks went up 1-0 on their second shot of the game. Matthew Barnaby dug the puck out of the corner and tossed it back to Lapointe for a one-timer from the top of the right circle. It was Lapointe's seventh goal of the year and second in as many games.

Chicago survived almost a minute with a two-man disadvantage but Columbus tied the game soon after on the power play. Klesla's shot, a hard one-timer from close to the blue line, eluded Khabibulin on the stick side. It was Klesla's second goal of the year and his 50th career point.

In a wild second period, the teams combined for three goals - two short-handed and one on the power play.

Klesla's long pass to Zherdev helped set up Foote's short-handed goal to give Columbus a 2-1 lead. Zherdev saucered a pass to Foote for a shot from the right circle 1:57 in.

The Blackhawks pulled even on Babchuk's second of the year, on the power play. His long slap shot made it through traffic with 8 seconds left on the man advantage.

Keith then broke the tie on a shot from the point off a drop pass from Mikael Holmqvist. The soft goal led several fans to begin jeering Columbus goaltender Marc Denis, who finished with 42 saves.

Notes: RW David Vyborny, Columbus' leading point scorer, returned from a rib injury that caused him to miss the last two games and end a 194-game playing streak. ... Barnaby received a 10-minute misconduct in the first period for inciting. ... The Blue Jackets scored short-handed goals in consecutive games for the second time in franchise history.

Columbus improves to 6-0-1 in OT games
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