COLUMBUS, Ohio — Things appeared bleak for Columbus, down two goals with 12 seconds left in the second period against Anaheim. Then, Nick Foligno made a play that gave his team momentum heading into the third – and beyond.
Foligno raced toward a loose puck on a faceoff following Mike Santorelli‘s goal, gathered it and zipped a pass to William Karlsson. The former Duck beat Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen to cut the advantage in half with 5 seconds left in the period. After Columbus forced overtime, Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg beat Andersen in a shootout to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory Thursday night.
“This is a group of guys I want to be a difference maker for and leads them and playing the right way,” said Foligno, who tallied two assists. “Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way, but it’s the little things that you can do consistently to get you back to playing the right way.”
Foligno’s two assists were his first points since Jan. 26, a personal move in the right direction after coach John Tortorella relegated him to the third line.
“That situational play there, we can’t be down 2-0,” Tortorella said. “Huge play was coming back and scoring right before that period ended. That gives us a chance. We go in (trailing) 2-0, I’m not sure what the outcome of the game is.”
Brandon Dubinsky tucked a shot inside the left goal post on a power play to force the extra session. The Blue Jackets failed to capitalize on a power play in overtime, getting multiple looks while holding a man advantage over the final 1:18.
“I just don’t think we got frustrated and tried to do too much to open ourselves up to get scored on. We just stayed with it,” Tortorella said. “We just banged away.”
Nine minutes before Dubinsky’s equalizer, Brandon Saad scored his team-leading 20th goal on a rebound to cut the deficit to one. That came after Ryan Garbutt slipped a shot from a tight angle by Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo at 1:45 of the third.
David Perron opened the scoring at 4:47 of the first, flipping a pass from Ryan Getzlaf by Korpisalo for his eighth goal of the year. Once Santorelli’s shot found the net to make it 2-0, it looked like Anaheim had the game in hand.
But the Jackets kept coming.
“Personally, I just didn’t think we respected that team enough to start that game,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “And this is the NHL. You can’t come into a game and not respect your opponent. We were lucky to get a point, but we’ll bounce back.”
Boudreau credited Andersen for Anaheim earning a point even though the Ducks led the majority of regulation. Columbus put 34 shots on net, but each time, Andersen answered the challenge until the Jackets broke through late in the second.
“I think it wasn’t really happening earlier in the year for whatever reason, we weren’t able to come back,” Jackets defenceman Ryan Murray said. “But we had a couple comeback wins here and trying to keep rolling.”
Korpisalo finished with 24 saves to earn his eighth win of the season.
Columbus has now won three of four, including two shootout victories. The Jackets allowed the first goal in all four of those contests, but have recently been on the winning side and earned points to climb out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
“I thought it was one of our best games for 60 minutes,” Tortorella said. “I thought our bench was good, we had some lapses, but we didn’t beat ourselves … That was encouraging. That’s probably one of the best games we’ve played.”
NOTES: Anaheim suffered just its second loss in nine games, both coming at the beginning of its current seven-game road trip. … Andersen finished with 30 saves. … Getzlaf’s two assists extended his team-leading total to 35 … Karlsson’s goal was his seventh of the season, but first against his former team … Anaheim traded Karlsson to Columbus last March.