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Blue Jackets edge Avalanche for first win of season

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The wait is finally over for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Boone Jenner scored two goals, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves and the Blue Jackets, playing their second game under new coach John Tortorella, rallied for a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday for their first win in nine games this season.

The Blue Jackets (1-8-0) got goals from Ryan Murray and Brandon Dubinsky 2:47 apart early in the third period to take the lead for good.

Murray tied the game at 3:56 during a scramble play in front and Dubinsky knocked in the rebound of David Savard's shot to complete a 3-on-2 rush for the winning goal at 6:43.

"We're not going to do it overnight," Dubinsky said. "We played some good hockey tonight. We took some penalties and put ourselves in a little bit of trouble, but we didn't quit. It's an effort we were accustomed to before this year started and it was nice to get back to that.

"You celebrate it. It's been a while since we've had this type of feeling in the dressing room, so we'll celebrate it."

The Blue Jackets were outscored 37-15 in the first eight games, and their four goals Saturday were a season high. They fired coach Todd Richards and replaced him with Tortorella on Wednesday.

"It feels really good," Jenner said. "It's a character win, going down one in the third and battling back. It's a huge period for us. We had to dig down and came out right away in the third and it started to go our way. It's a huge win, we just worked for it. They had a good push at the end, but there were a couple of big blocks. It was a good win."

The Avalanche (2-4-1) got goals by Jarome Iginla and Nathan MacKinnon in the second period to take a 3-2 lead.

"No sense in feeling sorry for yourself," Tortorella said. "You’re down again, you lose the lead and you're down going into the third period. We felt this was the type of game to get you out of these slumps, you find a way to gut one out. They did, they deserve it. They've worked hard and they've been empty.

"I've only been here a couple of days doing this and they've been doing this for quite a while, since camp. So I'm happy for them."

Iginla finished off a rush with linemates Matt Duchene and Blake Comeau into the Columbus end and shot the puck from the right circle between Bobrovsky's pads at 1:43 of the second period to tie the game 2-2 with his third goal and first in five games.

The Avalanche went ahead on a 4-on-3 power play at 17:12. Iginla was in the slot when he passed to MacKinnon in the lower left circle for a shot into a half-open net for his third goal. The Avalanche had gone 1-for-16 on power plays spanning four games.

"That should have been the game, probably should have been the game winner for us," said MacKinnon, who had seven shots. "Closing out games ... we have to be better in our thirds, especially up 3-2 and knowing these guys haven't won a game in the season and they're going to be hungry."

The Blue Jackets spotted the Avalanche an early lead on a goal by Jack Skille and responded with two goals by Jenner 5:51 apart to grab a 2-1 lead in the first period.

Skille opened the scoring at 2:21 on the Avalanche's first shot. He skated into the left circle and beat Bobrovsky to the glove side for his second goal of the season.

Jenner tied the game at 10:04 after a turnover by Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden. Jenner skated down left wing on a 2-on-1 rush and shot the puck between Varlamov's pads.

Jenner put Columbus in front with a power-play goal at 15:56, 15 seconds after Mikhail Grigorenko was penalized for hooking. Savard shot from the right circle and Jenner deflected it past Varlamov for his fifth goal.

The Avalanche had killed 16 consecutive power plays in the previous four games.

Bobrovsky made nine saves in the period, including a big stop against Iginla in the slot with 12 seconds remaining.

The Blue Jackets were 29th in the NHL in penalty killing before the game, but they limited the Avalanche to one shot on two power plays in the first period after Skille's goal.

"We prepared to play against a very good team," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We had the start that we wanted. We scored an early goal. Maybe our power play could have generated a little more momentum and maybe hurt them a little bit more if we would have scored."

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