NHL Game Summary - Columbus at Minnesota
(Saturday, March 19th)
Final Score: Columbus 5, Minnesota 4 (OT)
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Antoine Vermette capitalized on a turnover to score in the final minute of overtime, lifting the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild had scored twice late in the third to force an extra period, and acted as the aggressor for most of overtime. But following a left-circle faceoff in the Minnesota zone, Wild defenseman Brent Burns turned the puck over in front of the crease, and Vermette was there to net the game-winner with 34 seconds left.
"Feel pretty bad," Burns said. "Guys fought back. We needed the points. It doesn't feel too good."
Rick Nash lit the lamp twice and ended with four points for Columbus, which snapped a two-game slide and got 32 saves from Mathieu Garon. It entered the game in 12th place in the Western Conference, nine points back of Calgary for the final playoff spot.
"We've still got a chance," Nash said. "It's going to be tough, but we've got to get as many points as we can."
Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves for the Wild, who have lost five in a row.
With the game locked in a 2-2 tie, Jan Hejda put the Blue Jackets in front 4:17 into the third period, when his slap shot from above the right circle squeezed through Backstrom's pads.
Columbus appeared to have full control after Nash tallied his second goal. He unleashed a wrister from the left circle that beat Backstrom to the glove side, giving his team a 4-2 edge with 6:20 remaining.
But Minnesota rallied to pull even. Only 73 seconds after Nash's goal, Antti Miettinen shot the puck from the slot over Garon's shoulder, using a Columbus defender as a screen.
Then, with 2:03 to play, Pierre-Marc Bouchard lifted a rebound into the net.
Minnesota had three shots in overtime and developed several good scoring chances, but Garon and the Blue Jackets stopped them all.
Nash got Columbus on the board 9:02 into the first period before Minnesota tied the game on a rare goal from Brad Staubitz. The enforcer, who is in his third season, tallied his fifth career goal and hit the net for the first time since February 6, 2010, when he was with San Jose.
Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck and Columbus' Kris Russell traded markers in the second period. Russell's came during a 4-on-4.
Minnesota went 0-for-2 on the power play. Columbus did not have a man advantage...The Blue Jackets won three of the four matchups this season...Sami Lepisto had three assists for Columbus...Mikko Koivu and John Madden had two helpers apiece for Minnesota.
03/19 20:45:42 ET