Animisov nets game winner as Blue Jackets defeat Avalanche in OT
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Artem Anisimov has had trouble staying healthy this season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, missing games already because of a bruised foot and a concussion.
On Sunday, he left the ice limping again, this time after getting drilled in the knee by a puck shot by Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly in the first period. But this time he returned to finish the game.
Oh, did he finish the game.
Anisimov's goal at 2:26 of overtime sent Columbus to a long-awaited 2-1 win over Colorado before 13,778 in Nationwide Arena. The Jackets had lost their four previous games this season that went to overtime or a shootout.
"I wasn't sure where the puck hit him, and the original report from the trainers wasn't good," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "I wasn't anticipating him coming back.
"But it was great to hear at the start of the second period that he was coming back and going to try to play. For him to be part of the game-winning goal, it probably doesn't hurt as bad."
Anisimov beat Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov to the near post with the Blue Jackets on a 4-on-3 power play. It was the second overtime game winner of Anisimov's career.
"I moved closer and closer to the net," Anisimov said, reliving the play. "I looked to the back door, it was closed. I looked far side, it was closed. So I shot short side. It went in.
"We need to start winning, and this is the first step. We can be a dangerous club if we continue to play like this."
Ageless winger Vinny Prospal also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have a season-long three-game point streak (1-0-2). Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had 18 saves, earning just his second win since Jan. 28.
P.A. Parenteau scored Colorado's only goal midway through the second period, while Varlamov had 32 saves.
The game marked O'Reilly's return to the Avalanche lineup after a prolonged and messy contract dispute.
Unable to reach a deal with Colorado, O'Reilly -- a restricted free agent -- signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames, one of Colorado's rivals in the Northwest Division. The Avs had a week to match the Flames' offer, but decided to match it only hours later.
O'Reilly passed a physical on Friday, practiced for the first time on Saturday and made his debut Sunday. He played 15:52 and won only 9 of 23 faceoffs.
"(O'Reilly) was just like everyone else for us," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "He was average."
The game was locked at 0-0 until Parenteau scored on an odd play at 12:35 of the second period.
From atop the right faceoff circle, Parenteau floated the puck toward the net as if he was dumping it in the zone to forecheck. Colorado's Matt Duchene tried to redirect the puck with his stick above his head, but whiffed. Instead, it bounced off Bobrovsky's shoulder and fell behind him into the net.
The play was reviewed by the NHL video review in Toronto and was allowed to stand. Replays showed Duchene did not touch the puck; otherwise the goal would have been disallowed for being redirected by a highstick.
The Blue Jackets tied the game 1-1 early in the third, scoring a 5-on-3 goal with a little help from O'Reilly.
Prospal guided the puck into a crowd in front of Varlamov, then watched as the puck caromed off the extended left skate of O'Reilly and shot behind Varlamov.
NOTES O'Reilly, who led the Avs with 55 points last season, opened up on a line with center John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk. ... The Blue Jackets hadn't scored a 5-on-3 or 4-on-3 goal all season until Sunday. .. The Blue Jackets have dressed 11 different defensemen in only 22 games, all because of injuries. Nikita Nikitin was injured in the second period following a hit from Colorado's Patrick Bordeleau and did not return. ... John Moore suffered an unspecified upper body injury in a morning skate on Friday in Chicago. He'll miss at least a week, Richards said.
Distributed by Internet Broadcasting and The Sports Xchange. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.