NHL Game Summary - Columbus at Minnesota
(Wednesday, November 30th)
Final Score: Columbus 3, Minnesota 2 (SO)
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Jaroslav Balastik scored in the final round of a shootout, lifting the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in a thrilling contest at the Xcel Energy Center.
Trevor Letowski and Duvie Westcott scored goals for Columbus, which matched a season-high with its second win a row. The Blue Jackets finished the month just 3-10.
Pascal Leclaire made 32 saves in the victory and stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout.
"It was fun tonight because we won," said Leclaire.
Mikko Koivu and Randy Robitaille scored for Minnesota, which rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime but lost for the fifth time in its last seven outings.
Manny Fernandez made 29 saves in defeat, but was brilliant in overtime when he stopped all seven shots he faced. The Wild had to kill off a pair of penalties in the extra session, but also had two good shorthanded chances.
After the first two shooters for each team in the shootout were foiled, Balastik snapped a shot from the slot past Fernandez's blocker.
Leclaire, who had just made a brilliant glove save on Koivu, then got his glove on Robitaille's shot to end the shootout.
The Wild trailed 2-1 heading to the third period, but turned up the pressure and finally tied it with 6:33 remaining.
Robitaille was in the slot and made a nice deflection of a center point shot by Filip Kuba. The puck bounced past Leclaire's right pad.
"We had a good second period and we came out [in the third] with a lot of energy and had good chances," said Robitaille. "We knew if we kept playing like that it was only a matter of time. Kubie shot it at the net and I got a stick on it and just happened to go in."
Kuba and Pascal Dupuis nearly won it in overtime while shorthanded with a 2- on-1 rush, but Dupuis couldn't lift a shot over Leclaire.
The Blue Jackets opened the scoring just over eight minutes into the contest when Letowski took a feed from Sergei Fedorov and ripped a shot from the slot off the post and into the net for his fourth goal.
Westcott made it 2-0 with just 1:07 to play in the period, scoring his second goal of the season on a wrister from the right circle.
It marked the first two-goal lead for the Blue Jackets since October 21 against San Jose, a span of 18 games.
Leclaire stopped all nine shots he faced in the opening period for Columbus, but Minnesota struck on the power play just 1:39 into the second when Koivu banged in the rebound of a Brian Rolston point shot for his third goal.
The Wild nearly tied it in the closing seconds of the middle period on a rush by Marian Gaborik, but his shot from below the right circle rang off the far post.
The Blue Jackets also beat the Wild in a shootout at Columbus on October 28...Fedorov played in his 1,000th NHL game.
11/30 23:37:52 ET