Little-used McElhinney sparks Flames' win
The CalgaryFlames needed 65 minutes and four shootout rounds to hand the Columbus Blue Jackets their fifth straight loss.
Calgary backup Curtis McElhinney stopped Anton Stralman in the fourth round, and Jamie Lundmark followed with the shootout winner in the Flames' 4-3 comeback victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
With the Blue Jackets seemingly in control late in the third period with a 3-1 lead, Calgary's Dustin Boyd and Nigel Dawes scored in a 1:19 span to tie it.
"We regrouped during the intermission," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "We talked about getting back to playing the way we did during the start of the game, for the first 30 minutes. Just keep going and going, stay patient with it and it will happen for us - and it did."
Making only his second start this season, McElhinney stopped 29 shots to push the Flames' road points streak to nine games.
"It worked out in the end," said the 26-year old McElhinney, who won his first shootout. "We came out flying in the third period."
The Flames, playing the second game of a six-game trip, are 9-1-3 on the road.
Rick Nash and Marc Methot scored 1:03 apart late in the second period to give Columbus the lead.
"We sit back too much and try to hold the lead," Nash said.
Olli Jokinen had a goal and assist, and Jarome Iginla had two assists for Calgary, which has won four of five.
Jared Boll also scored, and Kristian Huselius added two assists for Columbus, returning home after a five-game trip.
Not only did McElhinney stop the puck, but also Stralman who strangely crashed into the netminder on his shooutout attempt. Lundmark came through with a high shot past Steve Mason, who also put aside 29 shots, but only one of four shooters in the shootout.
"You're on the bench, then all of a sudden, you're all alone on the ice. It can be intimidating," Lundmark said.
Calgary's Mark Giordano rang a shot off the post early in overtime and Columbus' R.J. Umberger cut in alone but couldn't beat McElhinney late in the extra session.
On the Flames' tying sequence, Jokinen, working behind the net, centered a nifty backhand pass that Boyd backhanded past Mason, who was leaning the wrong way, at 14:14 for his fourth.
Then from nearly the same spot behind the net, Moss fed Dawes in the slot. He one-timed a low shot for his seventh at 15:32 and extending his goal streak to three games.
"In order to win with the lead, you have to win the board battles, not give up odd-man rushes," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were doing really well until we lost two big ones."
A tight-checking scoreless affair after one period made way for back-and-forth play in the middle stanza with Columbus skating off ahead.
Jokinen atoned for a first period wide-open net miss by slotting home a rebound for his fifth at 5:29 on the power play to open the scoring.
Columbus soon began finding more open ice, but McElhinney slammed the door on Umberger's slot shot and Derek MacKenzie's breakaway deke.
But Calgary couldn't stop the league's top power play. On a rush, Huselius sent a cross ice feed from the left wing that Nash went over McElhinney to make it 1-1 at 13:20 for his 15th.
The Blue Jackets continued to pressure and Methot converted with a wrist shot from the left circle for his first at 14:23 to give Columbus the lead.
After Boll took a goaltender-interference penalty for ramming McElhinney into the backboards, he stepped out of the penalty box and scored on a low wrist show from the inside right circle for his third to make it 3-1 at 19:32.
"I thought we played a pretty good overall game," Umberger said. "But then we seemed to give them chances in the third period. We sat back a little again, playing dump and chase."
NOTES: Calgary played the first of three games in four nights. ... Columbus returned home having played the fourth-most road games in the league so far this season. ... The home team has won 13 of the past 16 meetings in the series.