Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Tuesday, November 1st
Blue Jackets1Final
Oilers5
Game 2: Friday, November 11th
Oilers3Final
Blue Jackets1
Game 3: Thursday, February 2nd
Blue Jackets2Final
SO
Oilers1
Game 4: Saturday, March 11th
Oilers3Final
OT
Blue Jackets4

Oilers 3

(32-22-10, 74 pts)

Blue Jackets 4

(26-36-2, 54 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 11, 2006

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 OT T
EDM 2 1 0 03
CBJ 0 2 1 14

N. Zherdev (Blue Jackets - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

S. Fedorov (Blue Jackets - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

R. Klesla (Blue Jackets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Wrist shot in wild OT gives Blue Jackets win

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Even those standing closest to the winning goal were bewildered.

"I still don't know how it went in," Columbus' Trevor Letowski said of Rostislav Klesla's shot from a hard angle in a wild final minute of overtime that gave the Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over Edmonton on Saturday night.

A capacity crowd began to prematurely celebrate seconds after Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson was knocked to the ice by a teammate as he came out to handle the puck, resulting in Nikolai Zherdev's almost point-blank shot into an empty net.

But the puck bounced and he was unable to get off a good shot.

With the crowd still roaring, Klesla retrieved the puck behind the goal line in the left corner and threw a shot at the still reeling Roloson. The puck ricocheted in off him for only the second winning goal of Klesla's career.

Klesla was stunned to see what he had done with a flick of his wrist.

"I saw something in the net, a little black thing, but I wasn't sure until the referee pointed at the net," he said with a wide grin. "He (Roloson) jumped toward the post too early and was kind of looking around. I just threw it and thought maybe we'd get the rebound off of that -- but it went in. No rebound."

Roloson, who fell to 0-2 since he was acquired Wednesday from Minnesota, broke his stick in half by pounding it off the post after the puck went in.

"It hit my hand and went in the net," he said. "I had my stick there. That's the way the sticks are designed. The handle part is narrower, and that's where it hit."

Zherdev and linemate Sergei Fedorov each had a goal and an assist for Columbus, with Letowski adding a goal.

Ryan Smyth, Jaroslav Spacek and Michael Peca had goals for the Oilers, who hadn't lost in Columbus in more than four years. They blew two two-goal leads and lost for only the second time (against 16 wins) when leading after two periods.

Sergei Samsonov had two assists in his Oilers debut after being acquired in a trade with Boston on Thursday. Ales Hemsky also had two assists for Edmonton, 7-0-4 in its previous 11 games against the Blue Jackets.

"A couple of wild bounces around the net for their third and their fourth and we walk out of here with a point," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "But it looked early like it was going to be a slam-dunk two points."

Columbus has only 26 wins, but 12 have come in overtime or a shootout, the most of any team in the NHL. The Blue Jackets are 12-0-2 in overtime.

Samsonov made a pinpoint, power-play pass across the slot to Smyth, for his 30th, and Spacek, formerly of the Blue Jackets, netted a one-timer in the opening period for the Oilers, who outshot the Blue Jackets 15-4.

The Blue Jackets cut it to 2-1 early in the second period when Jason Chimera dug the puck off the back wall and backhanded a centering pass that Letowski converted for his ninth goal.

Edmonton expanded its lead to two goals on a strange play. Raffi Torres' shot was blocked, but it glanced off the skate of Klesla directly to Peca, who swooped in on goaltender Marc Denis for his eighth goal.

The Blue Jackets cut it to 3-2 when Fedorov's crisp one-timer from the high slot eluded Roloson. Outshooting the Oilers 27-12 over the last two periods and overtime, they tied it midway through the third period on another quirky goal. Fedorov took a pass from Rick Nash and hammered the puck at Roloson, who seemed to cover it. But with the puck loose and between his legs, he stood up and looked around for it. Zherdev skated from behind the net and jammed the puck in while Roloson had his head turned.

"After the first period we played better and came back," Nash said. (Coach) Gerard (Gallant) gave us a little speech in between periods and we came back. Things are starting to come around. Guys are starting to feel comfortable again and that's really showing on the ice."

Game notes


Syracuse, the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate, acquired Fedorov's younger brother, Fedor, on loan from the New York Rangers. Fedorov has played 38 games with Hartford of the AHL this season. ... The game drew a crowd of 18,136, Columbus' eighth sellout this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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