COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rick Nash's third goal of the game came on a rebound 3:27 into overtime and gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Nash's goals, giving him 22 on the season, came short-handed, on the power play and, finally, at even strength.
The Red Wings were without stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk, who did not attend the all-star game because of injuries and were forced by the NHL to sit out their first game back after the break for not fulfilling their obligations in Montreal. Detroit was also missing Henrik Zetterberg, who was injured in the second period.
In the overtime, Nash carried the puck into the zone before passing to Fedor Tyutin who tossed a centring pass through the crease to fellow defenceman Mike Commodore. But Commodore could only kick at the puck with his skate and never got a stick on it. It bounced to the right corner of the goal cage where Nash was waiting to jam it in.
It was Nash's third career hat trick and the 14th for the Blue Jackets franchise.
Marian Hossa and Brett Lebda had Detroit's goals.
Commodore finished with two assists for the Blue Jackets, who were returning home after playing nine of 12 games on the road. Now, in the thick of the race for their first trip to the playoffs, Columbus plays 15 of their next 24 at home where they are 14-7-1, including winning four of the last five and nine of 11.
Down 1-0 and 2-1, the Blue Jackets pulled even twice on second-period goals by Nash.
The Red Wings were on the power play when Nash got a stick on Derek Meech's pass for Brian Rafalski near the blue-line. Nash beat them to the puck and skated in on goaltender Chris Osgood, beating him through the leg pads for the short-handed goal.
Just 29 seconds later, the Wings counter punched. The Blue Jackets failed to clear the puck and Lebda made them pay for it when his hard slapshot from the point got past Columbus goaltender Steve Mason, who finished with 21 saves.
Hossa then was called for hooking Nash. The Blue Jackets, last in the league on the power play, wasted little time with Nash taking a pass from Kristian Huselius and firing a shot that deflected off Rafalski's stick and popped behind Osgood and into the net to tie the game at two.
There were numerous prime scoring chances in the opening period, but only Hossa found the net. Even that goal came on a quirky bounce.
On the power play, Zetterberg passed to Niklas Kronwall for a one-timer from the point. The shot was right of the goal cage but took a big bounce off the back boards - directly to Hossa who was at the right doorstep. He jammed it in for his 23rd of the year.
With 25 seconds left in regulation, Daniel Cleary intercepted a Nash pass and appeared to have a clear path to the goal but Nash and defenceman Marc Methot recovered in time to separate him from the puck before he could get off a shot.
Notes: Zetterberg played in his 400th career game. ... Columbus' Manny Malhotra, who had a career-best seven-game points streak end, played in his 600th career game. ... Detroit outshot Columbus 9-2 in the third period. ... Zetterberg, reportedly close to signing a long-term contract which would pay him around US$7.5 million per season, did not play the third period because of back spasms.