ST. LOUIS – The Columbus Blue Jackets hadn’t won a game in St. Louis since 2007, but that didn’t faze Kris Russell.
The Columbus defenceman joined what appeared to be a busted play in the Blues’ zone, skated into the left faceoff circle and beat Blues goalie Chris Mason 1:32 into overtime to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory Saturday night.
“This is a tough building for us to win in and I thought we played a really good game tonight,” said Russell, who scored his sixth of the season to snap the Blue Jackets’ eight-game winless streak in St. Louis. “We just got to keep playing and working hard. If we play like that, good things are going to happen.”
Russell took advantage of an opportunistic scoring chance after Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon made a game-saving stop moments earlier on Andy McDonald.
“We executed our game plan the way we wanted to for 60-plus minutes,” Garon said. “They bring a lot of traffic in front.”
McDonald forced overtime, scoring with 1:35 left in regulation.
“We had quite a few chances,” Blues coach Davis Payne said. “We had to grind out way in the third to get one to go and also had one there in the last few seconds (of regulation) after we won the faceoff. We had a chance right on the doorstep there.”
Fedor Tyutin and Derek Dorsett also scored for the Jackets, and Garon made 25 saves in his first game since Jan. 19.
The Jackets’ last win in St. Louis was March 27, 2007.
“We’re grinding it and we’ll see where we go,” said Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, whose squad had lost six of its previous nine. “We kept going. We’re trying to keep ourselves up and keep fighting. We’re not going to skill our way into this (playoff race). We’re going to claw our way in it.”
David Backes also scored for St. Louis, and Mason made 16 saves.
Russell skated into the Blues’ zone and snapped a shot that caromed off Mason on the Jackets’ first shot in overtime after taking a feed from Derick Brassard.
“He cut across and was trying to go back over my shoulder and he just went off the heel of my stick and kind of handcuffed me a little bit,” Mason said. “It hit the bottom of my arm and went in.”
NOTES: Blues F Keith Tkachuk became the fourth player in league history to record 2,200 penalty minutes and 1,000 points when he was whistled for high-sticking in the second period. … The Blue Jackets were without three players because of the flu, LW Kristian Huselius, D Anton Stralman and D Milan Jurcina. RW Derek Dorsett (wrist) returned after missing one game. … Blues D Erik Johnson (upper-body) returned to the lineup after missing one game.