Blue Jackets 3 / Wild 2 Blue Jackets able to exhale after key goal is confirmed

Dateline: ST. PAUL, Minn.

The

Blue

Jackets have never fared well in the

Xcel Energy Center, where pesky Minnesota Wild teams have combined

with incoherent and unfavorable rulings from the NHL’s video review

room in Toronto to spell doom.

What

Blue

Jackets fan could forget Wes Walz’s

metaphysical winning goal during the 2006-07 season? Or Rick Nash’s

disallowed winner two seasons ago on a sketchy ruling that he

redirected the puck with a high stick?

Last night, a short-handed goal by

Blue

Jackets winger R.J. Umberger midway

through the third period withstood inspection by the NHL watchdogs,

and it stood as the winner in a 3-2 victory before an irate crowd

of 17,336.

Derek Dorsett and Derek MacKenzie also scored for the

Blue

Jackets, and goaltender Mathieu

Garon had 21 saves in his first start of the season.

But it was Umberger’s goal — his third of the season — with

9:32 remaining that lifted the

Blue

Jackets, despite a sinking feeling

when it went to review.

“That was going through my mind,” Nash said. “We’ve always been

on the bad side of calls here, it seems. But tonight it was a

different story, and it won us a game.”

Umberger was sprung loose by a Chris Clark pass off the boards

in the neutral zone. Umberger made a slick move to get around Wild

defenseman Cam Barker, put a shot on goaltender Niklas Backstrom

and jabbed at the puck as he skated wide of the net.

Before he made it around the back of the net, Umberger began

pointing at the net to signal a goal. He even traded high-fives

with Clark and defensemen Marc Methot and Rostislav Klesla, a

brazen show of confidence given the Jackets’ history in this

building.

Replays showed the puck was under Backstrom’s right pad and

clearly over the goal line. All four officials on the ice ruled it

a goal, Nash said, and after a two-minute break for Toronto, it was

allowed to stand.

“I saw it clearly,” Umberger said. “Dragged the puck into the

net. It was a good five inches over the line. It was kind of half

under his pad.

“I saw it the whole way, but I give the refs credit. They saw it

on the ice, they called it on the ice, and they stuck with it.”

The

Blue

Jackets desperately needed a

quality performance after the way their home opener — a listless

5-2 loss to Chicago on Friday — played out.

Coach Scott Arniel considered making some line changes, but

instead he challenged his players and left the lineup intact.

“If you’re going to challenge guys,” Arniel said, “you have to

trust them to play through it.”

Unlike a night earlier, the

Blue

Jackets found the balance between

pushing the puck up the ice and not playing with too much risk.

They held the Wild to just two shots on goal in the first

period.

“That’s the best thing about back-to-backs,” Nash said. “When

you play like crap the first game, you can erase it pretty quick

with a win. That’s what we did.”

The

Blue

Jackets took a 1-0 lead with 6:46

left in the first period, thanks to the fourth line. Dorsett dived

over a pile of bodies to poke a loose puck over the goal line.

MacKenzie made it 2-1 at 9:33 of the second period when he

one-timed a nifty pass from center Derick Brassard only two seconds

after a power play expired.

aportzline@dispatch.com

Game wrap-up

THREE STARS

* R.J. Umberger, RW,

Blue

Jackets: Third goal of the season,

and it was a winner.

* Chris Clark, RW,

Blue

Jackets: Reappeared, with two

assists and a plus-2 rating.

* Derek MacKenzie, C,

Blue

Jackets: Netted a power-play goal,

took a team-high four shots.

GAME SUMMARY

Columbus 1 1 1 — 3 Minnesota 0 2 0 — 2

FIRST PERIOD: Scoring — 1, Columbus, Dorsett 1 (Russell,

Clark), 13:14. Penalties — Pahlsson, Clm (interference),

13:56.

SECOND: Scoring — 2, Minnesota, Burns 2 (Havlat, Cullen), 4:52

(pp). 3, Columbus, MacKenzie 1 (Brassard, Voracek), 9:33. 4,

Minnesota, Clutterbuck 1 (Havlat, Cullen), 16:43. Penalties —

Dorsett, Clm, major (fighting), 3:03; Staubitz, Min, major

(fighting), 3:03; Huselius, Clm (tripping), 3:59; Barker, Min

(holding), 7:31; Umberger, Clm (slashing), 11:56; Zidlicky, Min

(high-sticking), 18:25.

THIRD: Scoring — 5, Columbus, Umberger 3 (Clark, Methot), 10:58

(sh). Penalties — Burns, Min (hooking), 4:23; Tyutin, Clm

(interference), 9:32; Clark, Clm (hooking), 12:52; Miettinen, Min

(slashing), 13:57.

Shots on goal: Columbus 10-9-6–25. Minnesota 2-12-9–23. Power

plays: Columbus 0 of 4; Minnesota 1 of 5. Goalies: Columbus, Garon

1-0-0 (23 shots-21 saves). Minnesota, Backstrom 1-2-1 (25-22). A:

17,336.