COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Patrick O'Sullivan skated onto the ice in the third period upset with a call that nullified his go-ahead goal. There was no doubt about his winner in the shootout, and he left the arena elated.
O'Sullivan's goal in the shootout helped the Los Angeles Kings snapped a four-game skid against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 3-2 win on Sunday night.
"I guess I turned and apparently I kicked it in," O'Sullivan said about the goal that was negated after a video review. "It doesn't matter now, we won the game anyway."
Dan Cloutier, making his first start of the season and finishing with 31 saves, stopped Jason Chimera before O'Sullivan's chance. He was recalled on Feb. 7.
"I've waited a long time for this one," said Cloutier, who has struggled with injuries and mostly played in the minors the last few seasons with a hefty contract. "I've been through a lot in the last couple of years. I'm pretty excited to come back up and get an opportunity to play."
Anze Kopitar scored twice for Los Angeles, the worst team in the league but on a 9-4-1 stretch.
Ron Hainsey and Rick Nash tallied power-play goals for Columbus, which entered just two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after earning three of four points on a recent two-game road trip, but have lost six of seven.
|Blue Jackets center Jiri Novotny, right, and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, left, fight for a loose puck during the second period on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)|
"Our players are focused on getting points every night, we're paying a price" Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "But, we are not scoring, so it puts a lot of pressure in other areas."
Michael Peca added two assists for the Blue Jackets, losers of four straight at home.
O'Sullivan thought he gave the Kings the lead just 1:44 after Nash scored at 16:56 in the second.
The Kings outshot Columbus 6-2 in overtime. The teams skated three aside the final 1:44.
Tied 2-all with just under a minute left in the third period, the Blue Jackets' Nikolai Zherdev nearly scored off the skate of defenseman Jack Johnson and Cloutier robbed Chimera from close range.
"We didn't make a great deal of mistakes tonight, but Cloutier was there for us when we did," Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said.
Goalie Pascal Leclaire, who finished with 32 saves, returned to the lineup after missing two games with a bruised neck sustained in a goalmouth collison, allowed the opening score just 43 seconds into the game.
Leclaire, the league's shutout leader with eight, kicked aside Dustin Brown's shot. But, there wasn't a Blue Jackets player in site to corrall the rebound before Michael Cammalleri grabbed it and slid a backhand pass to Kopitar for the tap-in goal on the King's second shot. There was a lengthy video review before the goal was made official.
"I don't think the goalie really knew where the puck was," Kopitar said. "It was a really nice break for us to score right off the bat. It was good to start the game with."
The Blue Jackets evened the score five minutes later on Hainsey's point shot - his sixth goal - through a screen by Chimera, who played in his 350th career game.
The Kings, who lost Saturday in Pittsburgh, dominated the first half of the second period with Kopitar making it 2-1 at 9:02, scoring a nifty power-play goal and 24th of the season.
Leclaire skated far from the crease to block O'Sullivan's shot. The rebound came to Kopitar, who flicked it with his backhand through a crowd of players from the left circle and into the vacated net.
Columbus, which arrived home Saturday after a Friday night overtime loss in San Jose, looked listless until a two-man advantage gave them a spark late in the second period.
Newly acquired Dick Tarnstrom, playing in his first game with Columbus after a week of U.S. visa issues, keep the puck in the zone at the right boards with his glove. He passed to Peca, who left the puck in the right corner for Nash, who skated in and beat Cloutier with a low shot at 16:56 for his 29th to tie it 2-all. He scored a second after the first, man advantage expired.
"This was a huge game tonight for Columbus, trying to get themselves back in the playoff picture," Crawford said. "We want to enjoy the challenge that comes with each game."
Notes: Columbus forwards Fredrik Modin and Sergei Fedorov missed their sixth and 10th games, respectively, but are expected to rejoin the lineup within a week. ... Kings D Rob Blake missed his fifth consecutive game with an injured ankle. ... The Blue Jackets returned goalie Steve Mason, an emergency recall, to his junior club the Kitchener Rangers, on Sunday.