Connauton's 1st goal of season lifts Blue Jackets over Flyers in OT
Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were looking for ways to lose.
Now they are doing the opposite.
Kevin Connauton scored his first goal of the season off a lead pass from Ryan Johansen at 1:58 of overtime to help the Blue Jackets overcome a late goal and get past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.
"When you aren't winning games, that's kind of the mentality," coach Todd Richards said of his club's recent defeatist attitude due to a long list of injuries. "You can feel this team starting to get its spirit back. There was a stretch there were that's what we had lost."
Johansen took a drop pass and waited for Connauton to slip past Matt Read. He then fed a pass to Connauton for the high shot that beat Steve Mason, who made his first start in Columbus since being traded to the Flyers.
"I don't know if I would have jumped (up) there, but it was four on four and they got caught with three guys low," said Connauton, a waiver pickup from Dallas playing his seventh game with Columbus. "We got that two-on-one. Joey made an unbelievable play to draw that defenseman over and create the breakaway for me."
Boone Jenner scored in his career-best fourth straight game, and longtime Flyers forward Scott Hartnell also had a goal for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves for the Blue Jackets, who followed a 2-13-2 stretch with their four straight wins.
Brayden Schenn had both goals for the Flyers, including one after a video review with 55.3 seconds left in the third period. Mason stopped 21 shots.
With the Flyers trailing 2-1, former Columbus forward Jakub Voracek's shot from the point deflected off Schenn in the crease and trickled through Bobrovsky's pads. The on-ice call of no goal was overturned.
"The third period we pushed and played a lot better," said coach Craig Berube, whose club played the last of a five-game, 11-day trip, and had lost 10 of 11 before beating Los Angeles on Saturday.
Mason, who is 2-3 against Columbus since being traded in April 2013, said the Flyers deserved the point.
"But you put yourself in a position to get the second one and you can't come up with it," he said. "In overtime, we made a mistake and it's in the back of the net."
Columbus, plagued by injuries all season, welcomed back center Brandon Dubinsky. An integral leader, he played his first game of the season after abdominal surgery.
"It's all about the team right now," he said, after picking up an assist on Jenner's goal. "We needed the points."
The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead with their second power-play goal in two chances.
Defenseman Jack Johnson shot wide, but then centered the rebound off the back boards. Nick Foligno got a stick on it and the puck ended up between Hartnell's skates. He jabbed at it twice before pivoting and scoring his sixth of the season but first in 13 games.
"When we were losing, we were just waiting for something to go bad," Hartnell said. "Now we're expecting to win."
NOTES: Four-time All-Star Vincent Lecavalier was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game for the Flyers. ... Philadelphia forward R.J. Umberger, playing his 700th career NHL game, was recognized on the scoreboards for his six seasons with the Blue Jackets. ... Dubinsky, playing his 499th career game, has 99 career goals. ... Bobrovsky was the second star in the NHL last week after going 3-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage.