Rick Nash scored two third-period goals in his return from an injury as Columbus overcame a two-goal deficit last night to hand the visiting Minnesota Wild a costly 4-2 loss.
The Wild came into the game in 11th place and 6 points behind eighth-place Detroit in the Western Conference playoff race. Instead of getting 2 points, they came away with none after blowing leads of 2-0 in the second period and 2-1 with less than nine minutes left.
Nash’s shootout-like goal came just 27 seconds after Kris Russell tied it. Nash, who was sidelined with a lower-body injury for four games, then added an empty-netter in the final minute.
Kristian Huselius also scored for Columbus, which has won four of five.
Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew had goals for the Wild.
Until midway through the third period, Columbus was not mustering much offense despite ending up outshooting the Wild, 32-20.
Then with 8:58 left, Huselius left a drop pass for Russell, who was trailing the play, and his hard slap shot slipped past R.J. Umberger, who was providing traffic in front of goalie Josh Harding.
Before that tying goal could be announced, Nash took a pass from Jake Voracek in the neutral zone — while defenseman Cam Barker was heading to the bench to get a replacement stick. With no one close, Nash skated in on Harding, faked, and scored on a soft shot that went between Harding’s pads.
Oilers 3, Red Wings 2 — Gilbert Brule scored the shootout winner and also had two assists as host Edmonton beat Detroit.
Detroit’s Brian Rafalski scored during a scramble in front of the net with 0.2 seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime.
Ducks 5, Islanders 4 — Saku Koivu scored 14 seconds into overtime after Lubomir Visnovsky tied it with 32 seconds remaining in regulation as host Anaheim rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit to beat New York.
Flames 4, Sharks 3 — Rookie Mikael Backlund set up second-period goals by Nigel Dawes and Eric Nystrom as host Calgary held on to defeat struggling San Jose.