Pierre-Luc Dubois scored 31 seconds into overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Rangers 4-3 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.
Dubois’ 14th goal came after Columbus tied the game with less than three minutes left in regulation. Blue Jackets backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 19 saves for the win.
The Rangers took a 3-2 lead on Chris Kreider’s second goal of the game at 12:06 of the third period and appeared to go ahead by two several minutes later on a goal by Ryan Strome, but Columbus coach John Tortorella challenged the play and it was ruled offside.
Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski then tied it at 17:40 when he scored his seventh of the season after the puck went back to him at the point and he fired it past Henrik Lundqvist.
The teams played a generally haphazard and at times listless game after the three-day Christmas break. And once again, the victory margin was narrow. Sixteen of the last 18 games between the Rangers and Blue Jackets have been decided by one or two goals.
Columbus struck first when Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at 9:17 of the first. Bjorkstrand took a pass from Boone Jenner and beat Lundqvist with a shot from the faceoff circle to the goaltender’s right. Cam Atkinson also had an assist.
Jimmy Vesey tied it for the Rangers at 13:59 with his 10th of the season. Vesey took a pass from Kevin Hayes on a 2-on-1 break before tapping the puck past Korpisalo. With the assist, Hayes extended his point streak to eight games. Vladislav Namestnikov also assisted.
Columbus went ahead 2-1 when David Savard’s long-range shot from the right circle beat Lundqvist at 16:08. The goal was the second for the Blue Jackets’ defenseman. Bjorkstrand and defenseman Scott Harrington assisted.
The Rangers tied it with a power-play goal by Kreider at 1:45 of the second. Kreider deflected a soft shot from the point by Mats Zuccarello. Hayes also added another assist. The 26-year-old forward leads the Rangers with 31 points.
Hayes has five goals and 10 assists during his eight-game scoring streak and also has nine points in his last nine games against Columbus.
The Rangers were coming off a 3-2 home shootout loss to Philadelphia on Sunday. They have lost five of their last six home games in extra time, starting with a Dec. 2 shootout loss to Winnipeg.
The Rangers have points in seven straight home games but only two of them wins, going 2-0-5 during that stretch. New York is 3-6-5 overall since Nov. 23. And with a 4-10-2 road record, they are facing seven of their next nine games away from home.
Korpisalo made his first start since Dec. 11, when he lost 3-2 to Vancouver. Columbus had been 5-0-1 since behind starter Sergei Bobrovsky.
NOTES: Korpisalo also played in the previous game between the Rangers and Blue Jackets when New York won 5-4 in a shootout at Columbus on Nov. 10. … The Rangers and Blue Jackets meet again Jan. 13 in Columbus and April 5 at Madison Square Garden. … The Rangers scratched defenseman Tony DeAngelo and injured forward Jesper Fast. … New York again played without defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained Dec. 10 against Tampa Bay. … Columbus scratched defenseman Dean Kukan and forward Lukas Sedlak.
Blue Jackets: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
Rangers: Visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Source: The Associated Press