ANAHEIM, Calif. – With four games left. The Columbus Blue Jackets are back in a playoff spot.
Now they will try to hold off the Detroit Red Wings.
Fedor Tyutin scored 2:19 into overtime, and the Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game and moved into eighth place in the Western Conference with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
Columbus has three games left on a six-game trip before returning home for the finale against Nashville.
“We are extremely committed. That’s all we talk about,” forward R.J. Umberger said. “We want to make the playoffs and we want to win the Stanley Cup. That’s our goal from Day One.”
Blake Comeau and Matt Calvert also scored for the Blue Jackets, who rallied to win and jumped two points ahead of Detroit, which lost earlier Wednesday.
Columbus moved within one point of seventh-place St. Louis, which has two games in hand. Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves.
The Ducks, who already have clinched a post-season berth, lead Los Angeles and San Jose by seven points in their bid for their second Pacific Division title.
Anaheim has lost six of nine home games after winning a franchise-record 13 in a row at Honda Center.
“There were lulls in the game where they took the energy back,” Ducks centre Andrew Cogliano said. “That’s the difference on why we’re not winning. We’re letting teams get back into the game.”
Defenceman Sami Vatanen scored his first NHL goal, one day after Anaheim recalled him from the minors, and David Steckel ended a 32-game goal drought. Viktor Fasth stopped 25 shots, including a short-handed breakaway by Umberger in the first period.
“I thought we played a good game,” Umberger said. “We won the game, so we got some breaks. We said we needed a 60-minute game for us, and this is the best effort we can put together.
“The last couple of road games we started slow, so we wanted to put a full effort together. We knew we had to take it to the end to win, and we did.”
Nick Foligno set up the deciding goal with a nifty spin move away from Saku Koivu at the top of the left circle and threw the puck toward the net before Tyutin redirected it past Fasth for his fourth of the season and first winner since the 2009-10 season.
“Nick Foligno did what he does best. He’s able to handle and play with the puck and draw defenders to him, then beat them out of a turn and it opens up some ice,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “He made a great play to the net and a great deflection.”
Steckel put Anaheim ahead 2-1 at 4:53 of the third period with his first goal since March 23, 2012. Kyle Palmieri tried to stuff the puck under Bobrovsky’s pads, and Steckel took a whack at it. The puck hit the goalie and bounced about 20 feet in the air before landing on its side in the crease and rolling across the goal line.
“We didn’t get down after a fluky, bad goal,” Richards said. “The attitude on the bench was great. They stuck with it and continued to do the things that we were doing all game long to have success. And it paid off.
“The guys believe. We’re finding ways to win hockey games. I thought we were faster and more tenacious on the puck.”
The Blue Jackets tied it with 10:17 left in regulation, as Calvert converted a rebound of Brandon Dubinsky’s close-in backhander for his ninth goal.
The Ducks opened the scoring 6 seconds into their second power play. Teemu Selanne won a faceoff deep in the Columbus zone, and Vatanen beat Bobrovsky high to the glove side from the top of the left circle after getting the puck from Corey Perry.
It was Vatanen’s fourth NHL game and first since Feb. 6.
“I thought Sami was our best player. But we just have to win some games and we have to have everybody contributing,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The reason we had success was because everybody was contributing. The reason we’re not having success now is because we’re not getting everybody contributing.”
Columbus tied it at 16:38 of the second on a redirection by Comeau after former Ducks defenceman James Wisniewski pinched at the right boards to cut off Francois Beauchemin’s attempted clearing pass and took a wrist shot with Comeau positioned in the low slot.
“They had better scoring chances,” Boudreau said. “We got a point, but it’s not the point. It’s the playing more complete. And we’re not playing complete.”
NOTES: A moment of silence was held for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. … Anaheim D Cam Fowler missed his second straight game because of an upper body injury. Columbus D Adrian Aucoin sat out because of a lower body injury. … Entering play, Steckel was one of eight NHL forwards who had played at least 28 games this season without scoring a goal. … The Blue Jackets had fewer than three power plays for the 11th time in 12 games. Columbus is 1 for 20 on the power play during that stretch, and a league-worst 5 for 59 on the road this season. … Bobrovsky came in with a .931 save percentage, second in the league to Ottawa’s Craig Anderson. … The Blue Jackets are 16-4-5 since Feb. 25, when they were 5-12-2 and last in the overall standings.