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Wes Walz scores in overtime to lead Wild over Blue Jackets 4-3

When it all sorted out, Minnesota had it sixth straight home victory.

Walz scored a controversial goal 1:29 into overtime to give Minnesota a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

Martin Skoula's centring attempt deflected up the leg of Walz, who was being checked into the net by Jason Chimera, and lodged in Walz's equipment. It took nearly seven minutes for the review that confirmed the goal.

"I honestly didn't know where the puck was," Walz said. "I am just thankful that they could see the puck. I was hoping it wasn't one of those common-sense deals that the puck is in my pants, I'm in the back of the net, but because they can't see the puck in the net he wasn't going to call it."

Instead, Referee Tom Kowal said a penalty was to be called and the whistle blew because the puck could not be seen. "We wave it off, we have no goal on the ice. The play is under review between here in the building and Toronto. Shows the puck going in Walz's equipment, and Walz is completely in the net. It's a goal."

Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock would only say, "The goal will be a mess and it will be discussed forever."

He was more upset that the Blue Jackets were whistled for 11 penalties, compared to four for Minnesota.

"You can't continue to kill penalties and expect to win, especially on the road," he said. "We just ran out of steam because it was back-to-back and we had to use a short bench because of that."

Brian Rolston had two power-play goals, and Pavol Demitra also scored on the power play for the Wild.

Chimera, Joakim Lindstrom and Alexander Svitov scored for Columbus, which blew a 4-3 third period to Detroit Thursday and lost 7-4.

Rolston tied it at three at 7:25 of the third period, one-timing a pass from Kurtis Foster past Ty Conklin from above the right circle.

Then the goalies took over, with their best saves coming just seconds apart.

Minnesota's Manny Fernandez, who finished with 26 saves, stopped Rick Nash on a short-handed breakaway with about eight minutes to play, and a shot by Rolston was deflected by Conklin.

Coach Jacques Lemaire, who has been critical of Fernandez in recent days for him not coming up with the big stop when his team needed one, said the stop on Nash was "the whole game. ... That is what we are looking for from our goaltender."

Minnesota needed the lift after losses in Toronto and Detroit earlier this week extended Minnesota's winless road streak to 10 games. The Wild, who are tied with Anaheim for the league lead in home victories with 15, are home for their next four outings.

"When that happens you have got to win games at home," Foster said. "We need to win as many of these as we can and we have to eventually take this confidence from home on the road."

Chimera gave Columbus the lead with the lone goal of the first period.

Nikolai Zherdev chased the puck down just below the right circle and centred it to Chimera, charging down the slot, for a tip past Fernandez.

In his sixth NHL game, Lindstrom put the Blue Jackets up 2-0 early in the second period, converting a pass from Nash, the recipient of a turnover by Brent Burns below the end line. It was Lindstrom's first career goal.

Rolston answered for Minnesota two minutes later, beating Conklin with a slap shot.

Conklin, recalled from Syracuse of the AHL on Thursday to replace the injured Pascal Leclaire, finished with 20 saves. It was his first Columbus start after signing with the Blue Jackets as a free agent on July 6. He appeared in two games in relief earlier this month.

"I felt like I haven't played for a while, felt like I hadn't played in the NHL for a while, for a couple of months," Conklin said.

Demitra scored at 8:01 of the second period when he tipped a shot from Todd White past Conklin to tie the game, but Svitov tipped a shot from David Vyborny past Fernandez with 52 seconds left in the second period for a 3-2 Columbus lead. Vyborny has six points in his last three games.

Notes: Eight of Minnesota's 15 home wins have come in overtime or a shootout. ... Conklin was 2-10-1 in Syracuse, but had a .905 save percentage. ... Minnesota LW Stephane Veilleux returned after missing three games with a broken nose. ... Wild D Petteri Nummelin, who skated before the team's morning skate, missed his fifth straight game with an upper body injury. ... Columbus has scored at least three goals in 13 of 18 games since Ken Hitchcock became coach Nov. 22.



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