Blue Jackets 3, Wild 1

The game plan for the Columbus Blue Jackets was to come out

strong and get the win for Todd Richards in his first game as coach

against his former team.

It worked.

Rookie defenseman David Savard scored his first career goal and

added an assist to lift the Blue Jackets past the Minnesota Wild

3-1 on Tuesday night.

”My message to them (after the game) was I will sleep pretty

good tonight and enjoy this one,” said Richards, who is 4-7-1 for

Columbus since taking over for Scott Arniel on Jan. 9.

Richards was 77-71-16 with the Wild from 2009-11 before being

fired last April.

Antoine Vermette added a power-play goal and Jeff Carter scored

his second goal in as many games after missing 10 with a shoulder

injury for Columbus, which has a two-game winning streak for only

the second time this season.

”We wanted to come out with our best effort and get a big

win,” Carter said.

Curtis Sanford made 28 saves to improve to 10-12-4.

Nate Prosser scored his first career goal for Minnesota, and

Niklas Backstrom made 34 saves.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said the effort wasn’t nearly good enough

for a team trying to stay in the playoff race.

”The reality is that I don’t think we deserved to win the

game,” he said. ”It’s a game of one-on-one battles and they got

the better of us – by a large margin – in that department


Columbus played physical from the outset and outshot Minnesota

14-7 in the first period.

After Derek Dorsett had a thunderous check on Prosser behind the

Wild goal, the two fought at 7:10 of the period with Dorsett

landing punch after punch.

A bit later in the period, Savard scored with a shot from the

point through traffic past Backstrom at 8:59.

”You never know when it’s going to happen,” said the

21-year-old Savard, who’s played 18 career games. ”The first one’s

done so hopefully there’s more to come.”

Unfazed by the tussle with Dorsett, Prossser sent a one-timer

past a screened Sanford at 18:39 to tie it at 1-1.

In the second period, Sanford kicked away a hard Erik

Christensen power-play shot to keep the game even.

Vermette then made Columbus’ next power play count, sliding in a

backhand from the slot for his seventh goal at 15:31 to make it


”We made some nice passes, we had good net presence and that

turned out to be a big goal,” Vermette said of his first in 11


In the third period, Carter jammed home a rebound for his 12th

goal at 5:38 to make it 3-1. Colton Gillies, recently claimed off

waivers from Minnesota, and Savard picked up the assists.

”I’m really happy with the way we finished the game,” Richards

said. ”They had a couple opportunities, (Sanford) stood strong and

we were rewarded with a goal and carried it home the rest of the


NOTES: Wild captain Mikko Koivu missed his eighth straight game

due to a shoulder injury. … Christensen, acquired from the

Rangers last week, made his Minnesota debut, finishing with 11:21

of ice time and a minus-2 rating. … Savard became the 29th player

to score for Columbus this season, a league high and a franchise

record. … The Wild’s Nick Schultz was whistled for four minor