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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Down two of their most experienced players after Tuesday's trade deadline and trailing by two goals after 40 minutes in Vancouver, the Columbus Blue Jackets were supposed to fade away.
Instead they rallied from both deficits, coming from behind to beat the Canucks 3-2 on Jason Chimera's goal 1:07 into overtime to move within three points of a playoff spot despite trading away veterans Adam Foote and Sergei Fedorov.
Andrew Murray and Rick Nash scored 70 seconds apart early in the third period to tie the game at 2, and Chimera drove hard to the net to deflect Nikolai Zherdev's centering pass over the outstretched pad of Roberto Luongo in overtime, ending the Canucks perfect 23-0-0 record when leading after two periods.
"A lot of teams are writing us off right now but for us there's no point," said Pascal Leclaire, who made 21 saves. "We're not going to go down easy. We're there so might as well just try to make something out of it and prove people wrong."
Defenseman Dick Tarnstrom added two assists for the 11th place Blue Jackets, who moved within three points of Colorado and Nashville, which are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Not bad for a team that traded its captain after attempts to improve the team through trades fell through.
"It's tough anytime you lose a guy like Adam Foote, one of the best leaders in the game, Chimera said. "I'm not going to lie to you, it was a mental letdown for the team. But we had to keep moving forward, forget about it quickly and move on. We're still right there, it's two wins and you're right back up there."
The Canucks blew a third period lead for the second straight game. Sami Salo and Ryan Shannon scored and Luongo made 30 saves and Vancouver still moved two points ahead of Colorado and Nashville.
"A two-goal lead, you've got to make high percentage plays," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "I thought the first goal was a little bit fluky on their part but the second one we didn't make the high percentage play at their line and paid for it and paid the price in overtime."
|Pascal Leclaire gets upended during Friday's overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks. (Getty Images)
The first came after Tarnstrom's point shot hit Murray in a crowd in front and the puck arced up and over Luongo. The second came after Nash pounced on Willie Mitchell's turnover at the Blue Jackets blue line just over a minute later and raced the other way alone, beating Luongo with a deke and a raised backhand shot.
"Obviously he's one of the best goalies in the league and you don't see much of the net shooting so I tried to get him coming across," Nash said. "We need to win if we want to make it to the postseason, so we're playing desperate."
The Canucks led early after Shannon hopped out of the penalty box and into the rush midway through the fist period, beating a partially screened Leclaire through the legs after Trevor Linden spotted him trailing the play. Salo doubled the lead midway though the second with a blast from the point, giving the Canucks their first 2-0 lead since they beat the New York Rangers 3-0 way back on Jan. 3.
That was also the last time Luongo pitched a shutout. He appeared headed towards his seventh of the season before Tarnstrom's shot pinballed in off two players.
"That s the kind of goal you have to get against him," Chimera said. "He's hard to beat."
Vancouver had a power-play goal disallowed for the second time in the game less than three minute later after Henrik Sedin batted in a puck with his stick clearly over the cross bar. The first one, called back because of goaltender interference just 6:29 in, was less clear after Naslund appeared to be pushed into Leclaire.
Notes: Canucks D Aaron Miller returned after missing 10 games with a hairline fracture in his foot from blocking a shot. ... LW Jeff Cowan was also back after serving a one-game suspension for a high hit Saturday against Detroit. ... Columbus D Aaron Rome played just his second NHL game, but his first was in last year's playoffs with Anaheim and the Ducks gave him a Stanley Cup ring. ... Blue Jackets forward Giblert Brule, who grew up and played junior hockey in Vancouver, started the game on the top line with Rick Nash and Michael Peca.