Columbus
Blue Jackets
41-31-10
Toronto
Maple Leafs
34-35-13
SO
34 SOG
35 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTsoT
CBJ ()
TOR ()
game recap

Blue Jackets 4, Maple Leafs 3, SO

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:51 AM

Associated Press

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Blue Jackets 4, Maple Leafs 3, SO
Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3

TORONTO (AP) -Their bodies tired and legs heavy from a brutal stretch of five games in seven nights, the Columbus Blue Jackets and captain Rick Nash found enough energy to keep their playoff push going.

They even made it a milestone night for their coach, too.

Nash scored late in the first, set up Kristian Huselius' tying goal in the third and then fired home the shootout winner as the Blue Jackets rallied past the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Thursday night, giving Ken Hitchcock his 500th career victory.

"When you get points like you do tonight, these are valuable points that are going to make a difference at the end because this was a game where we probably didn't play our best but we still won," Hitchcock said. "It was one of those nights where we had no legs yet we found a way to get two points."

R.J. Umberger also scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven outings despite seeming to have little left in the tank after a 4-3 win over St. Louis on Wednesday night.

The win fueled their drive for the franchise's first ever postseason berth - they began the day sixth in the super-tight Western Conference - and made Hitchcock just the 13th NHL coach to hit the 500-win plateau. He's 500-337-122, tying Toe Blake for 12th place on the career list.

"To help him get his 500th win tonight was definitely a good pat on the back for ourselves," said rookie sensation Steve Mason, who made 32 saves. "It was a good effort down the stretch."

Nik Antropov scored twice and Jamal Mayers added the other for the Maple Leafs, who lost for the fourth time in five games. They had a handful of good chances to score the winner in the third, but Mason kicked out his right leg to stop Jason Blake on a breakaway and then snagged a Mayers shot out of the air with his glove.

"It felt like it was our game in the second period," Antropov said, "but we weren't sharp enough in the third."

Rookie Justin Pogge, making back-to-back starts for first time in his career, played better than he did Tuesday night in a 4-1 loss to Buffalo, but had a tough go in the shootout.

Jason Williams claimed to purposely fan on a shot that ended up sliding past Pogge to give Columbus an early lead. Jason Blake tied it, but Nash buried a no-doubter to put the pressure on Lee Stempniak, who fired wide to end it.

"It was a great trick shot," Nash said. "I wonder how he practices that one, but we'll take it."

Leafs coach Ron Wilson wasn't so sure the move was what Williams planned.

"Maybe he did. I don't know," Wilson said. "We should study that move, it's a great move."

The Blue Jackets tied things up 3-3 just 1:48 into the third when Huselius took Nash's pretty pass from behind the net in the slot and snapped it home. That swung the momentum toward Columbus, which spent much of the first 40 minutes sending passes into teammates' skates and having the puck dribble off their sticks.

"There's an analogy in war fighting that you fight and you march," Hitchcock said. "That's what we've had to do, we fight and we march."

Notes: This was just the seventh meeting ever between the teams. The Leafs went 4-0-1-1 through the first six meetings, including a 3-1 win exactly on year earlier. ... Boyd Devereaux made his season debut for the Leafs. LW Brad May and G Curtis Joseph were healthy scratches. ... RW Derek Dorsett and D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen were scratched for Columbus.

scoring summary
1st Period
12:39
TOR
PPG - Nik Antropov (19) Snap shot - ASST: Pavel Kubina (20), Alexei Ponikarovsky (21)
1 - 0 TOR
19:59
CBJ
Rick Nash (25) Snap shot - ASST: Kristian Huselius (25), Manny Malhotra (16)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
11:42
CBJ
R.J. Umberger (20) Wrist shot - ASST: Jakub Voracek (21), Jason Williams (16)
2 - 1 CBJ
14:09
TOR
Jamal Mayers (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Jason Blake (25), Dominic Moore (28)
2 - 2 Tie
18:03
TOR
Nik Antropov (20) Wrist shot - ASST: Alexei Ponikarovsky (22), Matt Stajan (27)
3 - 2 TOR
3rd Period
01:38
CBJ
Kristian Huselius (17) Snap shot - ASST: Rick Nash (30), Manny Malhotra (17)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDTORCBJTOTAL
1N. Hagman
J. Williams
0 - 1
2J. Blake
R. Nash
1 - 2
3L. Stempniak
1 - 2
penalty summary
1st Period
00:29
TOR
Matt Stajan  Tripping against  Fedor Tyutin
08:37
CBJ
Christian Backman  Interference against  Matt Stajan
12:27
CBJ
Jan Hejda  Interference against  Lee Stempniak
2nd Period
02:34
CBJ
Jiri Novotny  Interference against  Jaime Sifers
12:55
TOR
Luke Schenn  Fighting (maj) against  Jared Boll
12:55
CBJ
Jared Boll  Fighting (maj) against  Luke Schenn
18:26
CBJ
Marc Methot  Tripping against  Jason Blake
3rd Period
02:16
CBJ
Marc Methot  Roughing against  Ian White
03:27
TOR
Dominic Moore  Interference against  Michael Peca
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Steve Mason
SA: 35TOI: 65:00
Saves: 32EV: 25 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .914SH: 1 - 1
Justin Pogge
Justin Pogge
1-3-1
SA: 34TOI: 64:43
Saves: 31EV: 26 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .912SH: 1 - 1
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