Zherdev scores in return to Columbus


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- For one night, at least, the Columbus Blue Jackets erased a lot of bad memories against the Colorado Avalanche.

David Vyborny had a goal and four assists, including one on
Jaroslav Spacek's one-timer 3:24 into overtime, to lead the Blue
Jackets past the Avalanche 5-4 Saturday night.

"I think it's our best win ever," Vyborny said.

It was the Blue Jackets' first win over the Avalanche -- they had
beaten every other NHL team -- after going 0-13-1 in their first 14
meetings. Colorado, which outscored the Blue Jackets 11-1 in
winning both meetings this season, held a 61-16 goals advantage
over the Blue Jackets since Columbus joined the NHL four years ago.

"They dominated the last 3½ seasons, and we were getting tired
of that," Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant said. "We know they
are a great hockey team. They've got superstars over there. So
we've got to work hard and compete hard.

"Everybody gave everything they had. Our guys are tired, but
they feel pretty good about themselves."

Vyborny's five points were a career high, as were his four
assists, and tied a franchise record. He also matched his career
high for points in a season with 46.

"It will give me a little bit more confidence over the last 17
games," Vyborny said.

The Blue Jackets were on the power play in overtime after
John-Michael Liles, who had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche,
was called for hooking at 3:03.

Spacek had one one-timer blocked, but he reloaded and beat
goaltender Philippe Sauve from the point after taking a pass from
Andrew Cassels, who had two assists. Spacek had an assist to go
with his fourth goal.

Geoff Sanderson, Manny Malhotra and Nikolai Zherdev also scored
for the Blue Jackets. Zherdev missed the last two games flying to
Switzerland to testify in his arbitration hearing -- made necessary
when he left his team in Russia to play with Columbus.

"If you look around the dressing room, we've got 20 guys right
now who are all contributing," Blue Jackets forward Todd Marchant

Alex Tanguay had a goal and three assists, Milan Hejduk had a
goal and two assists, and Joe Sakic and Liles had a goal and
an assist apiece for Colorado, the NHL's best road team.

Sakic scored his 25th to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, taking a
perfect lead pass from Tanguay. One second after a power play
ended, the Avalanche made it 2-0 on Liles' sixth goal.

Tanguay was listed as questionable for the game after bruising a
thigh Thursday against St. Louis. Over the last 28 games, Tanguay
has 34 points, Hejduk 30.

Paul Kariya was stopped by Columbus' Marc Denis on a penalty
shot -- Denis kicked the shot away with his right foot -- midway
through the second period. The shot was awarded because a Blue
Jackets player fell on the puck in the crease during a wild
scramble at 10:27.

"From that point on, we took control of the game," Gallant

Vyborny netted his third stab at the puck while Columbus was on
a power play at 14:59.

Just 25 seconds later, Vyborny flipped the puck high in the air
from the neutral zone and right to a streaking Sanderson, who
scored on a breakaway.

Zherdev had two good shots at goals -- one hit the post -- before
converting on a five-on-three off a cross-crease pass from Cassels
for a 3-2 lead.

"Every game, you expect to get two points," Sauve said. "They
played hard tonight. You have to give them that."

In the third period, the Avalanche pulled even on Sakic's
patient pass to Tanguay, who scored his 22nd.

After Malhotra scored on a give-and-go with Darrel Scoville, who
earned his first NHL point, Colorado again tied it when Hejduk
scored after Rob Blake's slap shot clanged off a post and ended up
on Hejduk's stick.

"We had a chance to put them away when we got two early in the
game, and we didn't do it," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said.
"That basically sums up the entire night."

Game notes
Hejduk's assist on Sakic's goal gave him 400 career points.
... Columbus D Anders Eriksson had his five-game point streak end,
one short of matching his career best. ... Colorado C Riku Hahl
injured his shoulder in the first period and didn't return. ...
Opponents have converted only one of three penalty shots against
the Blue Jackets this season.