ST. PAUL, Minn. - Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson scored in the shootout to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves in goal for Columbus and stopped shootout attempts by Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. Vinny Prospal and Fedor Tyutin each scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets, who have won six of their past eight games to pull into a tie with idle Detroit with 45 points, tied for eighth in the Western Conference.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jason Pominville scored for Minnesota, which has lost seven of nine and is perilously holding onto seventh in the West with 46 points. Niklas Backstrom made 20 saves for the Wild.
Minnesota tied the game with 3:15 left in the third period when Pominville, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Buffalo, tipped home a rebound of a point shot by Ryan Suter.
Goals have been really hard to come by recently for the Wild, who had been shut out in three of their past four games. Finally though, they could have a sigh of relief when Pominville scored his second goal for Minnesota. Even when the Wild scored first Saturday, they benefitted from a bit of luck.
The Wild peppered Bobrovsky in the first period with 15 shots and the only tally against him bounced off a defenseman.
Minnesota's Brett Clark sent in a puck from the side that was tipped by Bouchard and deflected off of Columbus' Jack Johnson for the score. That ended a goal-less string of 137 minutes, 24 seconds for the Wild. Minnesota had allowed the first goal in seven of its past eight games.
From there, Bobrovsky proved why the Blue Jackets gave him the everyday spot in goal midway through March.
Bobrovsky, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in June, had split time with Steve Mason early in the season. But since replacing Mason in a game on March 5, it's been nearly all Bobrovsky for Columbus. Mason was traded to Philadelphia at the trade deadline and Bobrovsky's won five of his past seven starts.
The Blue Jackets benefitted from their few chances, scoring two goals 2:25 apart in the second period. Prospal scored his 11th of the season and Tyutin added just his third.
It was more of the same offensive struggles that led the Wild to call up speedy, high-scoring rookie Jason Zucker from the AHL on Friday and change up the lines, returning rookie Charlie Coyle to the top line with Parise and Mikko Koivu.
Coyle hit Columbus' Artem Anisimov on the first shift of the game, putting his shoulder into Anisimov's head and shoulder and touched off a physical game just 17 seconds in.
Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky took issue with the hit and fought with Coyle. Coyle was assessed a five-minute major for fighting and was given a match penalty for a hit to the head. Anisimov missed the rest of the game with what the team called an upper-body injury.
NOTES: The fight was the first of Coyle's NHL career. In 29 previous games, the rookie has had only 11 penalty minutes. Coyle's family, from Weymouth, Mass., was on hand to see Coyle play just 17 seconds. ... Columbus forward Marian Gaborik was booed lustily by the Minnesota crowd, playing back at the Xcel Energy Center for just the third time since he left the Wild to sign a lucrative free-agent contract with the New York Rangers. Gaborik, Minnesota's first-ever draft pick at No. 3 in 2000, is still the team's career scoring leader with 437 points, including a team-best 219 goals. Gaborik has three goals and three assists in five games for the Blue Jackets since being acquired at the trade deadline. ... Tyutin was playing in his 600th career game. ... Columbus leads the Western Conference in fighting majors this season (32). ... Bouchard now has 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 28 career games against the Blue Jackets. ... Wild center Matt Cullen still wasn't able to return from a lower-body injury, but he did practice with the team for the first time since April 1. Coach Mike Yeo has called Cullen day to day.