Final OT

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Colorado leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, December 6th
Blue Jackets1Final
Avalanche5
Game 2: Tuesday, January 6th
Blue Jackets0Final
Avalanche6
Game 3: Saturday, February 28th
Avalanche4Final
OT
Blue Jackets5
Game 4: Friday, April 2nd
Avalanche4Final
Blue Jackets2

Avalanche 4

(33-15-5, 82 pts)

Blue Jackets 5

(19-34-4, 50 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 28, 2004

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 OT T
COL 2 0 2 04
CBJ 0 3 1 15

D. Vyborny (Blue Jackets - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 4

A. Tanguay (Avalanche - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

J. Spacek (Blue Jackets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

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 said.

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 said.

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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