Anderson nets OT winner as Blue Jackets defeat Jets
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets appeared to be headed toward a disappointing end to a four-game homestand, but they found a way to get the game to overtime and Josh Anderson took it from there.
Anderson gathered the puck against the wall, circled around to the front of the net and fired a shot that beat Winnipeg goaltender Steve Mason with 2:22 remaining to send the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 victory over the Jets on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.
The win gave the Blue Jackets (7-3-0) their best 10-game start in franchise history and capped a four-game homestand with a second straight win. Columbus began the 2007-08 season with a 6-3-1 record for their previous best start.
“I’m thrilled about the win,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “They stayed with it. They didn’t panic. There was no frustration. And we find a way to tie the game and we made a big play at the end to win it.”
The Jets (4-4-1) lost an overtime game on the road for the second night in a row after falling by the same score in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
“Tonight was a tough one. Last night was a tough one,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “We had them where we wanted them. It’s just too bad we weren’t able to close it out.”
On the winning goal, Mason lost his stick and was unable to pick it up before Anderson launched the shot through a screen from teammate Brandon Dubinsky.
“I just tried to throw it at the net and it went in,” Anderson said.
The goal was the third of the season for Anderson, who held out of training camp in a contract dispute but is now starting to hit his stride.
“His game is coming if he just keeps his head on straight and doesn’t listen to his agent,” Tortorella said.
The Blue Jackets rallied after going nearly 50 minutes without a goal before Cam Atkinson made it 1-1 at 10:23 of the third period when he batted a loose puck in front of the net with a backhand shot past Mason.
“We just stuck with it and I’d say our PK (penalty kill) was very strong,” Atkinson said. “We found a way to tie it up in the third and stuck with it and found a way to win.”
The Blue Jackets thwarted all six of the Jets’ power-play chances.
“I think killing all those penalties there helped going into the third period and we found a way to get two points tonight,” Anderson said.
Brandon Tanev had opened the scoring for the Jets at 4:52 of the first period. A shot from the right circle trickled through Sergei Bobrovsky’s pads and lay motionless in the crease momentarily before Tanev reached behind the Blue Jackets goalie and tapped the puck over the goal line.
It seemed as though that might be the only goal of the game. But Bobrovsky did not let another shot get past him and gave the Blue Jackets a chance to rally. He finished with 29 saves for his sixth win of the season.
“Once we started killing those penalties, we woke up,” Tortorella said. “When we did give them something, Bob made some key saves at key times.”
Mason had 35 saves in his first action since he last played in 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets 10 days ago in Winnipeg. His record fell to 0-4.
“It’s not easy,” Mason said. “We grinded it out as hard as we could and unfortunately we came up short.
NOTES: The Jets were playing their first back-to-back games on a brief road trip. They return to Winnipeg for a Sunday game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who beat the Jets 2-1 in overtime on Thursday. Winnipeg plays a season-low nine back-to-backs this season. ... The Blue Jackets wore lavender jerseys during the pregame skate on Hockey Fights Cancer night. C Nick Foligno and C Zac Dalpe both lost their mothers to cancer. ... C Pierre-Luc Dubois will stay with the Blue Jackets rather than go back to juniors. The 19-year-old rookie played in his 10th game and his entry-level contract went into effect. ... The Jets and Blue Jackets played for the second and final time of the regular season.