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Columbus 3, Los Angeles 2 (OT)

2/11/2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Roman Cechmanek wasn't really in a giving
mood when longtime friend and fellow Czech David Vyborny confronted
the goaltender behind the Los Angeles net in overtime.

Vyborny, Columbus' second leading goal-scorer with 16, was
caught off-guard by the unintentional gesture, scoring 1:58 into
the extra session for a 3-2 win over the Kings on Wednesday night.

"He tried a fake on me and it put the puck on my stick,"
Vyborny said. "I was surprised."

The loss snapped the Kings' season-best seven-game unbeaten
streak.

"I held it for a couple seconds, and I held the puck a little
light," Cechmanek said. "It just hit Vyborny's stick."

Kings coach Andy Murray wasn't down about the loss, happy his
team earned a point to keep pace for a Western Conference playoff
spot.

"I think the key thing is that we keep piling points up," he
said.

Columbus, unbeaten (7-0-1-0) in its last eight games against Los
Angeles, also beat the Kings in overtime the last time the teams
met in Columbus.

"We've got three points off of them so far (this season by
reaching overtime)," Murray said, again focusing on the positive.

Defensemen Jaroslav Spacek and rookie Aaron Johnson scored for
the Blue Jackets, 7-7-4 since Gerard Gallant was hired interim
coach Jan. 1.

"It's real exciting," Johnson said of his first career goal.
"I was trying to go to the net and (Nikolai) Zherdev saw me and
made a beautiful pass."

The Kings, who tied it 2-2 on Joe Corvo's goal midway through
the final period, entered unbeaten in their last five road games.

"They left me all alone in the slot," Corvo said. "I just had
to redirect it high."

Alexander Frolov also scored his team-best 19th goal for Los
Angeles.

The Kings, playing crisply after a 3-1 win at Minnesota on
Tuesday, carried the game early. Frolov stuffed a wraparound shot
behind Marc Denis to make it 1-0.

The Blue Jackets looked sluggish in their first game in a week.

"They came out hard and took it to us early," Gallant said.
"Fortunately, after the 10-minute mark we got back in the game and
played pretty well after that."

Carrying momentum and a power play into the second period,
Spacek scored to pull Columbus even at 1. Spacek wristed the puck
from the right circle over Cechmanek's glove after a nice cross-ice
pass from Rick Nash, the league's leading goal-scorer with 31.

Spacek, who had a career-best 45 points last season, has missed
24 games this season with a groin injury and has only 13 points.

Johnson, recalled earlier in the week and playing only his sixth
career game, snapped a shot between Cechmanek's pads to give the
Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead.

The Kings tied it when Eric Belanger's centering pass from the
left boards found Corvo, who roofed a shot over Denis from the
slot.

"Our defensive corps was solid," Denis said. "We stuck with
it and Vyborny made a great play at the end."

Game notes
Defensemen have scored five of Columbus' last seven goals,
dating back to Jan. 31 against Minnesota. Blue Jackets defenseman
scored five goals in the first 51 games of the season. ... Nash,
who played in Sunday's All-Star game, returned to the Columbus
lineup after missing the last two games with a bruised foot. ...
The game was the fourth of a season-long seven-game road trip for
the Kings. ... Los Angeles is 6-2-3 since a 14-game winless skid,
which included nine ties and two overtime losses. ... The Blue
Jackets finished 1-for-6 on the power play, the Kings 0-for-1.