COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Gabriel Landeskog scored his first NHL goal with 40 seconds left and Matt Duchene’s shootout goal was the difference in the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night before 8,986, the smallest crowd to watch a regular-season game at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus is 0-3-1 this season.
In the shootout, Milan Hejduk matched the goal of Rick Nash, who had a goal and an assist for Columbus. Shooting second, Duchene beat Steve Mason through the leg pads. Mason stopped 30 shots in regulation and overtime.
Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 31 saves, slid to stop Jeff Carter’s shot to secure the victory.
T.J. Galiardi also scored for Colorado, while Radek Martinek had the other Columbus goal.
It was the second game in three nights — both at home — that the Blue Jackets led by a goal in the third period and couldn’t hang on.
The Blue Jackets were 0 for 4 on the power play and are 0 for 20 on the season with a man advantage.
Martinek provided not only the first goal by a Columbus defenseman this season but his first in a Blue Jackets uniform — on their only shot of the third period. An offseason free-agent signing, he was positioned at the right point when he took a pass from Vinny Prospal, who was near the corner boards. Martinek’s hard one-timer sailed over Varlamov’s shoulder on the stick side for a 2-1 lead.
But the Blue Jackets went the last 18:44 of the third period and the next 22:36 including overtime without a shot as the Avalanche stepped up the pressure on Mason. He was up to the task, twice diving onto the ice to cover loose pucks in the crease.
The Avalanche finally broke through in the final minute of regulation. Landeskog notched his first goal (in his third game) on a redirect. Defenseman Jan Hejda, who the Blue Jackets declined to re-sign in the offseason, fired a slap shot from the left point into heavy congestion in front that included two teammates and two defensemen clogging the ice in front of Mason. The puck went in off Landeskog.
Each team had two shots in the overtime, neither a prime scoring chance.
The Avalanche opened the scoring on Galiardi’s wrister through traffic. Shane O’Brien threw the puck on net and it rebounded off a Blue Jacket player to Galiardi for a wrister from near the right circle. Mason appeared to stop the shot, but it slipped under his left shoulder and over the goal line.
An ugly giveaway by Colorado’s Jay McClement handed the puck to Nash in the high slot. He squeezed off a shot on Varlamov, who made the stop. But Nash stayed on it to tap in his own rebound.
The Blue Jackets had another good scoring chance later in the second period. On a rush, Nash saucered a pass that Carter redirected. The puck drifted high in the air with Varlamov using the butt end of his stick to deflect it away.
NOTES: The arena wasn’t very full but the press box sure was: There were 13 scouts from nine teams (other than the teams involved) at the game. … The Blue Jackets had six giveaways to none for the Avalanche in the opening period.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)