BLUE JACK­ETS 2, AVALANCHE 1

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Cham­bers

colum­bus, ohio» If not for a poor de­fen­sive shift to be­gin the game and an un­lucky bounce off a skate in the wan­ing min­utes, the Avalanche would have chalked up Satur­day as one of its best own­zone per­for­mances of the sea­son.

But the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets made their 21st shot count late in the third pe­riod to emerge with a 2-1 vic­tory at Na­tion­wide Arena and deny Colorado at least a wellde­served point.

The Blue Jack­ets got the gamewin­ning goal with 1:07 re­main­ing in regulation, pre­vent­ing over­time and a point for the vis­i­tors. De­fense­man Jack John­son’s harm­less shot from the of­fen­sive blue line car­omed off the skate of Avalanche for­ward Cody McLeod. McLeod was try­ing to block the puck with his foot but in­stead de­flected it to­ward the net, and the change in di­rec­tion fooled goalie Calvin Pickard.

There were no Blue Jack­ets near McLeod to make a play on the puck.

“It’s frus­trat­ing. I should have just let Calvin have it. I should

have let him see the puck,” McLeod said. “It’s my fault.”

Pickard, who was mak­ing his se­cond con­sec­u­tive start on the heels of Thurs­day’s shutout win over New Jersey, said the puck came off John­son’s stick and made a strange bounce be­fore hit­ting McLeod.

“Just an un­lucky bounce at an un­lucky time,” Pickard said. “We de­served a bet­ter re­sult. I thought we had the puck a lot more and more scor­ing chances. It’s frus­trat­ing. I thought we did a lot of great things.”

The Avs were out­shoot­ing Colum­bus 27-15 mid­way through the third pe­riod and fin­ished with a 30-21 ad­van­tage.

“We were re­ally sharp tonight, ex­cept for maybe that first shift where they scored that first goal,” Avs coach Pa­trick Roy said. “Other than that, we were im­pec­ca­ble in our end. I thought we de­served more than that. But, hey, that’s the way this game is. You’re go­ing to win some you don’t de­serve to win, and some­times you’re go­ing to lose some that you de­serve (to win). Tonight is an ex­am­ple.”

Colum­bus scored on its first shift, and Colorado tied it 6:02 into the se­cond pe­riod. The equal­izer came off a give-and-go play by line­mates Chris Wag­ner and Jarome Iginla. Wag­ner made a drop pass to Iginla on the rush and drove to the net. En route, Iginla put the puck in his path and Wag­ner tapped it past rookie goalie Joonas Kor­pisalo.

Colum­bus’ first goal came 58 sec­onds into the game when Avs de­fense­men Nikita Zadorov and Nick Holden seemed like spectators. Zadorov played too loose on Ryan Mur­ray, and Holden lost his man in front. Mur­ray made a be­hind-the-net feed to Bran­don Du­bin­sky for a one-timer from the doorstep.

“Like I said, other than the first shift, I thought we played re­ally well de­fen­sively,” Roy said.

Avalanche top-line cen­ter Nathan MacKin­non was held with­out a shot and had two give­aways in 19:10. Line­mate Matt Duch­ene had a team-high six shots on his 25th birth­day.

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