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Manny Malhotra's two goals lead Blue Jackets over Kings, 5-4

NHL.com @NHL

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Manny Malhotra had two goals and an assist, scoring the go-ahead goal midway through the third period Tuesday night to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Los Angeles Kings, 5-4.

Malhotra hadn't had three points or two goals in a game in almost a year - a span of more than 70 games.

He also maintained control of the puck for the final few seconds, pinning it to the boards while the Kings tried to regain possession with a two-man advantage.

Raffi Torres added a goal and an assist, with goals also coming from Jake Voracek and Jiri Novotny. Kris Russell and Rick Nash each had two assists. Steve Mason had a rough night, but still stopped 22 shots.

Jarret Stoll had a goal and an assist for the Kings, and Edward Purcell, Anze Kopitar and Oscar Moller each scored in a span of 1:55 of the second period to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead.

Malhotra snapped a 4-4 tie in the third period, trailing the play to take a perfect tape-to-tape backdoor pass from Nash for his second goal of the night and 10th of the year.

The game pitted teams battling for position in the Western Conference playoff race. Columbus came into the night with 68 points and sixth place, with Los Angeles seven points back and in 13th place.

The Kings took an early lead on the power play.

A shot in traffic by Michal Handzus was deflected to Columbus defenceman Jan Hejda, who was unable to clear the puck. His pass ricocheted to Stoll, who buried it for his 16th goal.

The Blue Jackets countered with two goals in the period. First, R.J. Umberger's shot from a hard angle was redirected by Voracek, the puck flying up and over defenceman Jack Johnson and goaltender Jonathan Quick and barely trickling across the goal line.

Columbus, dead last in the league with a man advantage, picked up a rare power-play goal for a 2-1 lead. Russell slid a pass to Malhotra for a one-timer from the left circle that Torres was able to redirect for his fifth of the year.

After Columbus made it 3-1 on Malhotra's goal early in the second period, the Kings stunned a crowd of 15,049 - and the Blue Jackets - by scoring three times in rapid-fire fashion.

Derek Armstrong carried the puck behind the Columbus goal and fed Purcell for a rocket of a shot from the left dot. Then Kopitar tied it on a soft backhander from the half wall, the puck somehow eluding Mason inside the near post.

Before that goal could be announced, Moller netted a rebound after Mason made a nifty toe save on a drive by Stoll.

The Blue Jackets called a timeout to regroup from the onslaught. It must have worked.

Novotny collected his second goal of the season after his hard shot from the right dot hit and floored Johnson. The puck kicked over to Russell for a shot that Quick blocked, the puck ending up almost under Johnson as he pulled himself up on all fours. Novotny slipped past him to slide the puck into the empty net to tie it 4-4.

Notes: The Blue Jackets were playing their only home game in a span of six road games. ... Each team had picked up a shutout in the three previous meetings this season, L.A. winning twice by 3-0 counts and Mason shutting out the Kings 2-0 on Dec. 29. ... Midway through the game, Columbus announced that LW Jason Chimera will undergo surgery Wednesday to repair a groin injury and is expected to be sidelined for four to five weeks. ... Nash's two assists gave him 60 points for the second season in a row. ... The three-goal barrage marked the fastest ever against the Blue Jackets.

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