This time, a little extra time on the clock went the Columbus Blue Jackets’ way.
Derick Brassard’s second goal of the game — with 1:05 left in overtime — lifted Columbus to a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, snapping the Blue Jackets’ six-game skid.
Jeff Carter had forced overtime with a power-play goal in his return from a 10-game absence with a separated shoulder for the Blue Jackets, who won in the finale of their six-game road trip.
The NHL’s worst team even rallied from a third-period deficit in its first game since an apparent clock malfunction possibly cost them a point in a 3-2 loss up the I-5 freeway in Los Angeles two nights ago.
After that bizarre disappointment, coach Todd Richards thought his 30th-place Blue Jackets could have mentally packed up and headed home to Ohio when their NHL-worst penalty-killing unit spent much of the second period on the ice in Anaheim.
Instead, Columbus gave a rare show of focus and resilience in its awful season, forcing extra time with Carter’s third-period goal and eventually getting Brassard’s winner.
”It feels good, especially after what happened in the last game,” said Brassard, who improved his season rating to minus-17 with his two goals.
”We worked really hard. It’s always tough on the West Coast, facing good teams, but we just stuck with it. … We don’t have a lot of points in the standings, but all the guys still paid the price and worked hard. We faced a team fighting for the playoffs and made it hard on them.”
Curtis Sanford made 33 saves for the Blue Jackets (14-32-6), who still sit 11 points behind 29th-place Edmonton in the overall NHL standings.
But Columbus didn’t pout after Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty beat them with a goal in the final second two nights earlier, an instant after the clock curiously paused at Staples Center.
”The way the game started, I thought we were hung over from that,” Richards said. ”But I thought the guys regrouped. We battled tonight. We scratched and clawed, and weathered some storms when there were some.”
Commissioner Gary Bettman’s office still is investigating the finish in Los Angeles, but the Jackets will try to forget about it in the meantime.
”I’m really interested in what he’s going to find, and what the reports are going to be,” Richards said.
”I have my own thoughts, and I think everybody has their own thoughts as far as what happened. I think everybody is watching it closely and waiting to hear what they find. … I don’t think it was intentional by any means, but I’m interested to find out what it is.”
Teemu Selanne scored his 654th and 655th career goals for the Ducks, who have lost two straight home games in discouraging fashion after a 9-1-1 run through most of January. The Ducks’ 1-for-5 performance on the power play in the second period left Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau furious at his top power-play unit.
”I told them, `I don’t know why I’m putting you guys back out there,’ ” Boudreau said. ” ‘I must be a fool for punishment, but you’re the best we have.’ … We let them hang around long enough, and that’s what happened.”
Moments after Selanne barely missed the net with an overtime shot, Brassard stripped the puck from Cam Fowler in the Columbus end and skated the length of the ice to beat Jonas Hiller, who stopped 18 shots.
”I thought it was a sloppy game,” Boudreau said. ”We make a dumb mistake at the end, get outmuscled, and it cost us.”
Columbus’ comeback erased another big game for Selanne. The 41-year-old Finnish Flash tore up a familiar foil in his fourth multigoal game of the season, giving him 40 points in 35 career meetings with Columbus — including two goals in the Blue Jackets’ visit to Honda Center last month.
Selanne has been Anaheim’s leading scorer all year long, and his goals gave him 1,389 career points, 22nd-most in NHL history. His 655 goals are 13th in league history and just one behind Brendan Shanahan, who needed 224 more games to reach his mark.
”You can’t be happy with that,” Selanne said. ”Really frustrating. We just couldn’t do it. I don’t think we played that well, and that’s what bothers me the most.”