Nikitin, Nash lead Blue Jackets rally over Flames
CALGARY. Alberta—Rick Nash scored the tying goal with 58 seconds left in regulation and then netted the only goal in the shootout to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Calgary led 3-1 with less than five minutes left in the third period, and appeared to be in control, but Nikita Nikitin and Nash scored to tie it.
Derek MacKenzie won a faceoff deep in the Flames end, and Columbus quickly worked the puck back to the defenseman Nikitin at the blue line, who fired a slap shot through traffic and past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with 4:05 left.
Then with Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford pulled for an extra skater, Nikitin set up the tying goal when his slap shot from the blue line was deflected in by Nash for his team-leading eighth goal.
Calgary became the final NHL team to go to a shootout this season, but failed to pull out the win. Alex Tanguay, Lee Stempniak and Rene Bourque were all stopped by Sanford in the tiebreaker.
After Jeff Carter and Fedor Tyutin were denied by Kiprusoff, Nash scored the decisive goal by faking a shot before sliding the puck between Kiprusoff's legs.
Antoine Vermette also scored for Columbus (7-15-3), 4-2-2 in its last eight games.
Stempniak, Bourque and Blake Comeau scored for Calgary (10-12-2).
Bourque broke a 1-1 tie with 19 seconds left in the second period. He streaked past defenseman Jim Wisniewski and sent a slap shot into the top corner. Bourque, who had just one goal and one assist in his last 15 games, jumped head-on into the glass after the goal.
Bourque has seven goals and is tied for the team lead with Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross.
Mark Letestu had a chance to atone for his giveaway on a third period power play, but his dangerous shot from the slot was stabbed by the outstretched glove of Kiprusoff, who made 30 saves.
Calgary extended its lead to 3-1 5:48 into the third period on Comeau's first goal of the season. Comeau entered the Columbus zone and stopped sharply, causing Nikitin to slide out of the play, then fired a shot that hit Vinny Prospal in front and trickled past Sanford.
Comeau entered with no points in his first 19 games. It was his fourth game with the Flames after being claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders, with whom the 25-year-old forward scored 24 goals last season.
In his eight straight start, Sanford had 32 saves.
Calgary tied it 1-1 at 13:02 of the period. Jay Bouwmeester's slap shot missed the net, but the puck took a lively carom, and Stempniak scored from a sharp angle.
Columbus had taken a 1-0 lead 5:23 in when Nikitin's shot from the blue line was stopped by Kiprusoff, but Vermette was there to put in the rebound.
NOTES: For the first time since the end of the 2008-09 season, D Mark Giordano (hamstring) was out of the Flames lineup, ending a stretch of 187 consecutive games. Cory Sarich took his place after being a healthy scratch in nine of the previous 11 games. ... The Flames were 0-for-1 on the power play. Calgary's last home power-play goal was scored by Bourque on Oct. 26. They are 0-for-28 since, and 2-for-45 overall at home this season. ... Calgary is 12-1-3 in its last 15 home games against Columbus. ... Prospal's assist on Nikitin's goal was his 700th NHL point.