Blue Jackets 2, Wild 1, OT

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—With NHL goal-scoring leader Rick Nash sidelined by a bruised foot, the Columbus Blue Jackets relied on the most unlikely of offensive heroes.

Anders Eriksson’s long slap shot deflected off a Minnesota player and beat goalie Dwayne Roloson 2:59 into overtime to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory Saturday night.

It was only Eriksson’s second goal of the season—and just the 16th of his 382-game NHL career.

“Oh, yeah,” Eriksson said, laughing, when asked if it was his first overtime goal. “I don’t score too many goals. … I’ve got, like, what, 17, 18 goals? Not a whole lot. You’ve got to make ‘em count. It’s better to have quality than quantity.”

The Blue Jackets played the last two periods without Nash, the NHL’s leader with 31 goals, who bruised his foot late in the first period.

“That’s a fun way to win,” Columbus interim coach Gerard Gallant said. “I thought we played a great first period, then we fell back. When Nash got hurt and didn’t come back for the second period it was sort of a letdown for our club.”

Following an NHL-record 15 consecutive overtime ties to start the season, the Wild lost their second overtime game in 48 hours. They fell 3-2 to Montreal on Thursday night on Richard Zednik’s goal with 28 seconds left in overtime.

“That’s how it goes,” Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. “That’s how it’s been going lately.”

Eriksson’s slap shot from the right point hit the Wild’s Marc Chouinard near the right hash mark and then ricocheted by Roloson, ending Columbus’ two-game home losing skid.

“He wound up to shoot blocker side and the next thing you know, the puck was going the other way,” said Roloson, who finished with 27 saves. “It’s just one of those things where guys are working hard to get there and block the shot and make a play … and it goes off a leg and into the net. You can’t fault them. Unfortunately, it went into the net.”

Eriksson enjoyed holding court while discussing his rare game-winner.

“The goalie probably read I was going to shoot for a deflection at the far post,” he said. “I got their guy, and it just bounced it.”

With a wide grin he added, “Lucky goal, lucky bounce. It got us two points and it made me look good.”

The Wild tied it 1-1 with 3:22 left in regulation on Sergei Zholtok’s backhander in the high slot.

David Vyborny notched his 14th goal midway through the opening period on the power play, crashing the net when Jaroslav Spacek put a perfect pass on his stick from the right wing. Vyborny had only to flick his wrist to redirect the pass past Roloson.

Soon after Nash just missed his 32nd goal when he stole the puck from Jason Marshall, but his breakaway wrister clanged off the crossbar.

The Wild finally got on the board on their 29th shot, Zholtok scoring his seventh on a backhander from the high slot. Andrew Brunette carried the puck around the goal cage and was pulled down in the slot. Zholtok picked up the loose puck and backhanded it, teammate Jim Dowd leaping to avoid the puck as it slipped by Denis.

Eriksson said the Blue Jackets regrouped after seeing Nash wasn’t coming back.

“Losing Nash is obviously huge,” he said. “It was a good opportunity for other guys to step up. Everybody took a little more responsibility outthere.”

Notes

Minnesota has won only three of its last 20 games (3-6-9-2). … Spacek had two saves for Columbus, which moved to 6-5-1-1 against the Wild. … Nash extended his points streak to four games (3-3-6) with an assist on Vyborny’s goal. … Assisting on Zholtok’s goal, Brunette has four assists in the lastfive games and Dowd has five points in the last six games.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
A. Eriksson A. Eriksson
Columbus Blue Jackets
Scored at 2:59 of OT

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Dwayne Roloson TB 29 27