NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Columbus
(Friday, March 19th)
Final Score: Columbus 4, Minnesota 2
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Columbus captain Rick Nash shined in his return to the lineup, scoring twice in the third period, as the Blue Jackets netted four unanswered goals to upend the Minnesota Wild, 4-2, at Nationwide Arena.
Nash, who had missed four games with a lower-body injury and the flu, tallied on a breakaway 27 seconds after defenseman Kris Russell tied the game at two.
Kristian Huselius registered a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has won four of its last five games. Mathieu Garon stopped 18 shots in the win.
Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew lit the lamp for Minnesota, losers in six of its last nine games. The Wild are seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Wild goaltender Josh Harding, starting his sixth straight game in place of Niklas Backstrom, made 28 saves after being pulled in Thursday's 5-0 loss at Nashville. Backstrom continues battle a groin injury.
Columbus drew even when Russell one-timed a Huselius pass at 11:02 behind Harding, who felt he was bumped by R.J. Umberger.
"I don't know, maybe I need to read the rule book and see what is considered goalie interference," Harding said.
Nash slipped a backhander between the legs of Harding to give Columbus the lead, and sealed the win inside the final minute with his team-leading 30th red light of the season.
"I thought Rick Nash made a statement to the team that he is a tremendous leader and I think he showed that tonight," said Columbus interim head coach Claude Noel. "He was a man among boys. He was outstanding for us and he took charge of the game."
Minnesota capitalized on a misplay by the Blue Jackets in their own zone to grab a 1-0 lead at 10:28 of the first period.
Wild right winger Antti Miettinen grabbed an errant pass by Columbus' Jakub Voracek, wheeled around in the slot and fired a shot off the left post. Koivu jumped on the loose puck and fired it home for his 20th goal of the season, tying his career high set in 2006-07 and matched last year.
Kobasew crashed the crease and chipped a Casey Wellman centering feed into the net at 2:42 of the middle stanza for a 2-0 Minnesota lead. Wellman, a two-year standout at the University of Massachusetts, was appearing in his first NHL contest after signing an entry-level contract earlier in the week.
Huselius hit the crossbar with his initial try, but buried the second attempt to put Columbus on the board with 6:37 left in the second period. The tally gave the Swede 20 goals for a fourth consecutive season.
Columbus won for just the third time (3-22-4) this season when trailing after two periods...Minnesota defenseman Greg Zanon missed the game with an ankle injury...Blueliner Justin Falk also made his NHL debut for the Wild...Minnesota and Columbus split the four-game season series, with the home team winning each game.
03/20 00:18:37 ET