COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Artem Anisimov scored on a hard wrist shot on an overtime power play, and Sergei Bobrovskymade 18 saves to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
The victory ended a four-game skid, all of the losses by a goal, with the last two coming in overtime. Columbus, with the worst record in the West, had lost seven of eight.
P.A. Parenteau scored for Colorado, but also had the hooking call that led to the decisive power play for Columbus.
The game was tied at 1 for most of the third period and the first 2:26 of overtime. It was debatable that either team deserved its goal in regulation.
But Anisimov, acquired in the blockbuster deal last summer that sent Rick Nash to the New York Rangers, had the puck near the right dot. Teammate R.J. Umberger was backed up to the crease and goalie Semyon Varlamov was struggling to get a view. Anisimov played with the puck for a moment before firing a high, hard shot just inside the near goal post that barely missed Umberger.
O’Reilly, last year’s leading scorer for Colorado with 18 goals and 37 assists, had missed the first five weeks of the abbreviated season in a dispute that ended when the Avalanche matched an offer sheet he signed with Calgary.
Down 1-0 heading into the third period, the Blue Jackets pulled even on their second lengthy opportunity with a two-man advantage. Prospal’s centering pass from the right side went off the stick of O’Reilly 4:04 into the period.
It was the first time this season Columbus scored on a 5 on 3. It was Prospal’s team-best eighth goal, and it came two weeks after he turned 38 years old.
Varlamov, who shut out Columbus 4-0 on Jan. 24 while making 33 saves, stymied the Blue Jackets for the first 104 minutes he faced them this season.
Colorado scored first at 12:35 of the second period, also on a quirky goal. Parenteau sent the puck from the right point toward the goal. Teammate Matt Duchene lifted his stick in a redirect attempt but missed the puck. It surprised Bobrovsky, slowly floating past him.
It was Parenteau’s team-leading ninth of the year.
The Avalanche killed 1:21 of a two-man disadvantage in the opening period. They also dodged a possible goal when Derek Dorsett‘s 2-on-1 attempt off a nifty set-up pass from Derek MacKenzie was wide of an almost empty net while Varlamov was caught out of position.
NOTES: Anisimov took a shot off the inside of his leg and went to the dressing room in the first period, but returned in the second. … Colorado D Patrick Bordeleau slammed D Nikita Nikitin into the boards in the second. Nikitin went directly to the dressing room and did not return (upper body). Moments later, Columbus’ Jared Bollfought with Bordeleau. … The Avalanche opened a three-game road trip that will also take them to Detroit and Chicago. … The Blue Jackets were without several top players: C Brandon Dubinsky (right knee), D Jack Johnson (shoulder), D James Wisniewski (broken right foot), C Derick Brassard (upper body) and D John Moore (upper body). … Colorado is 6-2-1 at home, 2-6-3 on the road.
– By RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer
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