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Columbus at Vancouver

Nash fuels Jackets to victory in first game back from knee injury

CBSSports.com wire reports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Rick Nash lived up to his role as both the Columbus Blue Jackets' leader and leading scorer.

The Columbus captain, back after missing four because of a knee injury, had a goal and two assists in regulation and scored the decisive shootout goal in the Blue Jackets' wild 6-5 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

"There's a reason he's the captain," Columbus newcomer Jason Williams said. "He's not the most vocal guy, but he leads by example ad his work ethic and he did both tonight."

Williams also scored in regulation and the shootout as the Blue Jackets overcame a two-goal deficit late in the second period, then recovered after blowing a two-goal lead of their own early in the third

Nash sparked Columbus' comeback late in the second period, helping to set up Williams' power-play goal with 3 minutes left, then tying it at 3 on a wraparound two minutes later. Mike Commodore and Raffi Torres then scored 55 seconds apart early in the third to give the Blue Jackets a 5-3 lead.

The Canucks called a timeout and quickly tied it again on goals by Henrik Sedin, on a power play, and Kevin Bieksa 90 seconds apart. The second one went in off Nash as he tried to tie up Mats Sundin at the side of the net, making shootout redemption -- on a shot past Roberto Luongo's blocker -- even sweeter.

"It was just a bad break, but that's the beauty of the game," said Nash, who leads Columbus with 18 goals and 42 points. "It was nice to get that winner."

Manny Malhotra also scored, and Kristian Huselius had two assists as the Blue Jackets won for the fourth time in five games to move just two points back of the slumping Canucks for seventh in the Western Conference.

"It was tough back and forth, they got a couple of lucky ones, off my body and things like that but we stuck with it and showed our character," Nash said.

Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock wasn't even sure about sending Williams out in the shootout, not with his right eye almost swollen shut after a high stick midway through the third period that required stitches under the eyebrow.

"The problem was he only had one eye," Hitchcock said of Williams, who was playing his second game after being acquired last week in a trade with Atlanta. "I asked him if he could see and he said he could, so I let him go."

Steve Mason, who came into the game with the NHL's best goals-against average (1.81) and second-best save percentage (.936), was beaten five times on 30 shots. But the 20-year-old rookie stopped Kyle Wellwood's shot and forced Sundin to shoot wide in the shootout, improving to 17-10-1 this season.

Luongo, playing his second game after missing almost two months with a groin injury, made 23 saves before Williams and Nash beat him in the shootout.

"It was pretty cool to go up against him, growing up he was somebody I liked watching," Mason said. "But it wasn't a great game for either one of us."

Sundin, Taylor Pyatt and Steve Bernier also scored for the Canucks, who recorded their only point in a five-game homestand (0-4-1). They fell to 1-6 in shootouts this season, and have just two wins in their last 10 games overall.

Vancouver also lost forward Pavol Demitra to a second-period groin injury

"Momentum is a funny thing," said coach Alain Vigneault. "I really liked the way we played there for 35 minutes. For a period there six minutes we gave them a few chances and they scored four goals."

Nash got off to a quick start after being out almost two weeks, setting up Malholtra midway through the first period. Malhotra went unchecked to the net to tap Nash's centering pass through Luongo's legs after combining with linemate Huselius on some pretty tic-tac-toe passing into the offensive zone.

Nash was stopped on a breakaway 2:30 into the second period, and Sundin gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead on a 2-on-1 down low 41 seconds later. Bernier made it 3-1 midway through the period before Nash helped spark a Columbus comeback.

Defenseman Kris Russell took a pass from Nash, faked a shot from the point that dropped Luongo to the ice, and slipped the puck over to Williams.

Williams one-timed a shot before Luongo recovered as Columbus converted its first advantage of the game with 2:56 left in the second period.

"He's been a great addition," said Nash, who tied it on a wraparound with 1:01 left in the period. "Power play, we need the help there."

Commodore wired a shot past Luongo after he lost his goal stick 1:16 into the third period and Torres, playing his second game since missing 19 after knee surgery, banged in his own rebound of a wraparound less than a minute later.

"Obviously, we all know Roberto can play better," Vigneault said. "He's a key ingredient to the success of our team."

Notes

  • To make room for Nash's return, Columbus sent Craig MacDonald, who had a goal and an assist in eight games, down to Syracuse of the American Hockey League earlier in the day.
  • G Wade Dubielewicz, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders after spending the first half of the season in Russia, joined the Blue Jackets in Vancouver late Saturday night and backed up Sunday. Vancouver played its 3,000th game in franchise history.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Rick Nash tabs a goal and two assists before finishing off the Canucks with the winning SO goal.  (AP)
Rick Nash tabs a goal and two assists before finishing off the Canucks with the winning SO goal. (AP)

Scoreboard
Columbus  (22-19-4) «12201 (2)6
Vancouver (22-19-6)12200 (0)5
Three Stars
H. Sedin
VAN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
R. Nash
CLB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
T. Pyatt
VAN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
06:43Taylor Pyatt (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Sedin, Sedin
10:27Manny Malhotra (6), Tip-In. Assist: Nash, Huselius
2ND PERIOD
03:14Mats Sundin (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Demitra, Hansen
12:25Steve Bernier (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kesler, Burrows
17:04Power Play - Jason Williams (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Russell, Nash
18:57Rick Nash (18), Wrap Shot. Assist: Peca, Huselius
3RD PERIOD
01:16Mike Commodore (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Umberger, Hejda
02:11Raffi Torres (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Boll
04:37Power Play - Henrik Sedin (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Edler, Bieksa
06:07Kevin Bieksa (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mitchell
OT
None
SHOOTOUT
 Jason Williams (1), GOAL
 Rick Nash (2), GOAL
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:26Malhotra, 2 min, Tripping
10:38Kesler, 5 min, Fighting
10:38Umberger, 5 min, Fighting
17:12Malhotra, 2 min, Roughing
17:12Burrows, 2 min, Roughing
19:25Williams, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
04:24Russell, 2 min, Slashing
04:24Dorsett, 2 min, Roughing
04:24Dorsett, 10 min, Misconduct
04:24Davison, 2 min, Roughing
04:24Davison, 10 min, Misconduct
15:09Hordichuk, 5 min, Fighting
15:09Boll, 5 min, Fighting
15:47Hansen, 2 min, Tripping
3RD PERIOD
04:07Modin, 2 min, Tripping
17:41Nash, 2 min, Roughing
17:41Mitchell, 2 min, Roughing
OT
01:47Bieksa, 2 min, Hooking
SHOOTOUT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Columbus491225
Vancouver981229
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGASO SSO GA
Steve Mason 65:0025520
Roberto Luongo 65:0023522
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Columbus1-for-2
Vancouver1-for-4
Game Information
Attendance - 18630
Referees - Tom Kowal, Dan O'Rourke
Linesmen - Brad Lazarowich, Vaughan Rody
 
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