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Johansen, Umberger lead Blue Jackets past Flyers

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- This time, it was the Columbus Blue Jackets who had the big third period to pull out a 6-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night.

The teams met two days after the Flyers scored all their goals in the third period to overcome a 3-0 deficit at home for a 5-4 victory, and it looked like a repeat was in the offing in the rematch.

Columbus (15-7-4) took a 2-0 lead late into the second period on goals by Ryan Johansen and RJ Umberger and nearly added a third when Brandon Dubinsky hit the crossbar and left post on the same shot before the Flyers rallied again.

Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier scored 20 seconds apart to tie it, but the Blue Jackets recovered to score four times in the third, including an empty-netter by Umberger, to snap a 0-2-1 streak.

"A real, real important shift was the first one in the third period by Dubinsky's line," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "They went right after them. For the rest of our group it sent a message of, 'It's OK to play, here we go.'"

In addition to the two goals for Umberger and Johansen, the Blue Jackets (15-17-4) also got goals from David Savard and Boone Jenner, plus two assists for both Corey Tropp and Nikita Nikitin.

Simmonds scored twice for the Flyers (16-16-4), who had a 3-0-1 run snapped.

But the Blue Jackets' victory came at a heavy price. Marian Gaborik sustained a second significant injury this season when he fractured his collarbone in the first period. The Blue Jackets announced he will be out indefinitely.

Gaborik was playing for the first time since missing 17 games with a knee injury. He got crunched between Flyers players Braydon Coburn and Zac Rinaldo while shooting, but still managed to pick up an assist when Nick Foligno picked up the rebound and fed Johansen for the game’s first goal at 10:43.

"You feel for him," Richards said. "It's a big hole for our team. He worked hard to get back. He was excited to play. His game, up until he got hurt, he looked good and he had a step. He was energized."

Johansen said Gaborik's return provided a boost.

"Then to see him go down again like that, you feel bad for him. It's really unfortunate," Johansen said.

Columbus also lost forward Matt Calvert to an upper-body injury. He will be evaluated Sunday.

Two other players who returned from injuries also had assists. Philadelphia forward Vincent Lecavalier (bone fracture in back) had been out nine games and made a surprise return about two weeks ahead of schedule. He had an assist on the Couturier goal.

Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski (upper body) missed six games, but his shot from the point led to a power play goal at 14:29 of the second when Umberger tipped the shot past Flyers goalie Ray Emery for the 2-0 lead.

It was good game for the Columbus defensemen as far as contributing to the offense. They contributed one goal and seven assists and were a part of all the goals in the third period.

After the Flyers tied it late in the second period, Columbus got goals 2:39 apart from Savard and Jenner early in the third to restore the two-goal lead. Savard scored from the right point through heavy traffic at 3:36 and Jenner redirected a shot from the left point by Nikitin at 5:39.

"We have to do a better job blocking the shots from the top," Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said. "Those were shots that should have been blocked by the forwards."

Columbus then padded the lead at 12:22 when Johansen, on an odd-man rush, pulled the puck back in the right circle to clear Coburn then wristed the shot over Emery's right shoulder.

"We didn't compete as hard in the third as we did in the second," Simmonds said. "That's what happened. They were determined to win."

Philadelphia got a goal by Simmonds, his second of the game, while playing with an extra attacker at 18:19 to make it 5-3, but Umberger scored 24 seconds later.

"We kept going after them," Umberger said. "We kept getting pucks in deep. We didn't sit back. We kept rolling. We were smarter (than Thursday). When we needed two forwards back, we got it."

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