COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wojtek Wolski and the Colorado Avalanche escaped with a road win Saturday night, thanks to some help from a timely replay reversal.
Wolski had a goal and an assist and the Avalanche held on for a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night when a tying goal was disallowed in the final seconds.
Jason Chimera thought he tied it with 13.7 seconds left, jamming in the puck at the left post from a mad scrum with Colorado players Adam Foote, Milan Hejduk and Kyle Quincey, who flopped to the ice trying to block the puck with goalie Peter Budaj out of position.
The net appeared to come up – with the puck sliding in underneath – but not off the moorings. After a replay review, the call on the ice was reversed and it was ruled the puck did not cross between the posts.
“I wasn’t celebrating too much because I knew it was close,” Chimera said. “But I kind of batted it and it looked like it kind of went under the post.”
Colorado coach Joe Sacco initially thought it was a goal.
“I didn’t know the net was off when it originally happened,” he said. “Then we got from our video guy that it looked like the puck went underneath when the net came off. I was pretty relieved when I heard that.”
Hejduk and Chris Stewart also scored for Colorado. Budaj, making his third consecutive start since regular Craig Anderson suffered a neck injury, had 29 saves and an assist.
Budaj had an up-close view of the late-game drama.
“When he (Chimera) jammed the puck back toward the net it was clearly off,” he said. “I saw the replay and was pretty sure it wouldn’t count.”
Chimera had a goal and an assist and Jakub Voracek also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have struggled on defence while losing eight of nine.
“We have to develop our own hunger,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That’s the game of hockey. It goes to the team that is most hungry. We have not shown that consistency game to game, period to period.”
Steve Mason had 16 stops for Columbus, which entered tied for most goals allowed in the NHL.
After a scoreless first period, the Avalanche managed two goals in the second.
Paul Stastny eluded Jan Hejda behind the Columbus net with a pass to himself off the endboards then fed Wolski, left unmarked at the bottom of the right circle. The left winger snapped a quick shot by Mason at 6:46 for his 11th.
“We’re happy that we won and Peter played so great,” Wolski said. “I know it’s very hard for him to step in the way he did. He’s been practising hard and playing hard. It’s paying off now.”
Columbus had a power-play chance a few minutes later but Foote blocked Voracek’s shot at an open net.
Matt Duchene set up the second goal, backhanding a pass through traffic to Hejduk all alone at the back post for his team-leading 12th goal at 15:21.
Chimera picked up his sixth goal at 4:20 of the third but Colorado needed just 38 seconds to respond. Budaj and Wolski made a few long passes before Stewart scored his fourth from the left circle.
“We certainly needed this tonight,” Sacco said. “We got solid goaltending tonight when we needed it. I really like the game we played tonight.”
NOTES: The game marked the return of former Blue Jackets captain Foote to Columbus. Foote demanded a trade to his former team at the deadline two seasons ago with the Blue Jackets in contention for a playoff spot. He was heavily booed every time he stepped on the ice and touched the puck. … Colorado is 24-7-1-1 all-time against Columbus, but the Blue Jackets have won six of the last eight meetings. … The Avalanche played the third game of a five-game trip (1-1-1).