CALGARY – In just over 24 hours, the Columbus Blue Jackets have turned their season around. Or so they hope.
Antoine Vermette scored once and added two assists Friday to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Coming on the heels of a 4-2 win Thursday night in Edmonton, Columbus earns consecutive victories for the first time since a three-game winning streak in mid-November.
“We’re starting to look like last year’s team. The last two games, that third goal in Edmonton has changed everything for us,” said Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock.
The struggling Blue Jackets came to Alberta winless in its last 13 games on the road. The back-to-back victories still leaves Columbus 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“If you look at the big picture and see how many wins and points you have to get to get in, it could be overwhelming. We just have to take it day by day,” said Vermette.
Hitchcock realizes there’s a long road ahead of them but he’s remaining confident.
“You never know, other teams have come from far back,” Hitchcock said. “If we can keep playing well and get this thing to .500 then we have the big home schedule in February, March, and April, we can still do some damage.”
Torres and Jan Hejda also scored for Columbus (17-20-9).
Mark Giordano and Rene Bourque scored for Calgary (25-14-5), which blew an opportunity to move into sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division. The Flames remain tied with the Vancouver Canucks, who they’ll meet Saturday night at GM Place.
Leading 2-1 to open the third period, Columbus opened up a two-goal lead at 5:22 when Vermette finished off a pretty three-way passing play with Jakub Voracek and Raffi Torres.
Calgary got back to within one when Adam Pardy set up Bourque’s 15th goal at 11:59, but Blue Jackets goaltender Mathieu Garon shut the Flames out the rest of the way to finish the night with 20 saves.
Flames head coach Brent Sutter voiced his frustration with the mistakes his veteran team continues to make.
“You look at the third goal, it’s a 3-on-2 in the third period of a 2-1 hockey game. That should never happen, never. It should never god damn well happen,” Sutter said. “A 1-1 hockey game and we don’t get pucks out of our zone because we play soft. It’s a rec