for this game

Zherdev helps Blue Jackets edge struggling Kings

Dec 22, 2007 - 4:59 AM
By Dave Holstein PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets came out on top in the battle of struggling teams.

Nikolai Zherdev scored a game-winning goal early in the third period and helped out on another as the Blue Jackets posted a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.

Jiri Novotny tallied a controversial goal and Fredrik Norrena stopped 33 shots for Columbus, which snapped a two-game slide, and won for just the second time in its last six contests.

"The first 10 minutes was about as good as we have played," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Then we start taking penalties and were really on our heels. However, we competed and played hard. It wasn't pretty, but we had key people play really well tonight."

"It was a huge win for us," Blue Jackets right wing Dan Fritsche said. "We worked well down low and had a lot of opportunities getting pucks to the net. We just had to keep it 5-on-5 and we'd have a realistic chance at winning the game and we did that."

The Kings, whose 26 points are the fewest in the NHL, have dropped a season-high six straight contests.

"We can't lose faith here," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "But it's tough because we have lost six in a row and this was a tough one for our players to digest."

With the game knotted at 1-1 at the start of the final period, Zherdev helped the Blue Jackets strike quickly.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey gathered the puck along the left boards before wristing a shot that Zherdev managed to redirect among a scrum of players and past netminder Jason LaBarbera, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-1 advantage just 37 seconds into the session.

"I couldn't tell you what happened," LaBarbera said. "Their guy threw it on net and I was playing the pass and it hit the side of my pad and went in. It kind of surprised me a little bit."

It was Zherdev's 13th tally of the season, second only to Blue Jackets assistant captain Rick Nash.

Columbus, which at one point accrued seven penalties through the first two periods, played tough defense to stay within contention.

"I thought our penalty killers did the job," Hitchcock said. "They are a team that you don't want to put on the power play too often. Luckily tonight, we didn't pay for it like we could have."

The Kings used the first of those infractions to take a 1-0 lead. With three seconds left with a man advantage, Michael Cammalleri fired a shot from the right of the net that bounced off the skate of a Columbus defender and through the pads of Norrena with 6:41 left in the initial period.

Los Angeles nearly tallied on its next power play a minute and a half later, but the officials denied the goal as they ruled Kings captain Rob Blake was in the crease not that he kicked the puck with his skate.

"The (officials) thought he was in the crease and interfered with the goalie," Crawford said. "Clearly the replay showed he wasn't interfered with. That break went against us."

"I was in the crease, that was (the referee's) ruling," Blake said. "I thought I was in the crease with the puck. It wasn't that puck went off my skate, it was that I was in the crease before the puck."

Just before their seventh penalty, the Blue Jackets knotted the score while upsetting the Kings in the process.

Zherdev, from behind the Los Angeles goal, slapped the puck at the left post that LaBarbera seemed to stop with his knees. However, Novotny, sensing an opening, jabbed it through the pads of the Kings netminder to even the game at 1-1 with 2:47 remaining in the middle stanza.

"I saw the shot and didn't hear the whistle so I just went hard to the net and poked at the puck and it went in," Novotny said.

The referee, standing next to the net, said the goal was good despite the vociferous protests by LaBarbera and Los Angeles bench.

"I had it under me the whole time," LaBarbera said. "(The referee) was on the side of the net and there was not a puck behind me and the whistle was in his mouth. Novotny comes in and spears me and the puck goes in. I had it for more than a couple of seconds, why wouldn't you blow the whistle?"

Norrena, who turned away 11 shots in the first period, stopped 22 in the final two sessions for a total of 33 to preserve the win.

"I was pretty tired after two periods," Norrena said. "They move the puck so well from side to side, to kind of wait you out. Our defenseman did a great job tonight."

"We really relied on our goaltender," Hitchcock said. "He came up big."

LaBarbera made 33 saves for the Kings, who last lost six in a row from March 24-April 5.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 0 1
    COLUMBUS 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MIKE CAMMALLERI 15 (ANZE KOPITAR, ROB BLAKE)
    13:19
    2ND PRD: COB - JIRI NOVOTNY 5 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, JAN HEJDA) 17:13
    3RD PRD: COB - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 13 (RON HAINSEY) 0:37
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: LOS - 1 OF 7

    Dec 21 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    COLUMBUS 2
    3RD PRD: COB - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 13 (RON HAINSEY) 0:37

    Kings vs. Blue JacketsDec 21 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 1
    COLUMBUS 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MIKE CAMMALLERI 15 (ANZE KOPITAR, ROB BLAKE)
    13:19
    2ND PRD: COB - JIRI NOVOTNY 5 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, JAN HEJDA) 17:13
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS 12

    Dec 21 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    COLUMBUS 1
    2ND PRD: COB - JIRI NOVOTNY 5 (NIKOLAI ZHERDEV, JAN HEJDA) 17:13

    Kings vs. Blue JacketsDec 21 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 1
    COLUMBUS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MIKE CAMMALLERI 15 (ANZE KOPITAR, ROB BLAKE)
    13:19
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS 12 12
    COB 9 9
    GOALIES: LOS - JASON LABA

    Dec 21 7:42 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    COLUMBUS 0
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MIKE CAMMALLERI 15 (ANZE KOPITAR, ROB BLAKE) 13:19

    Kings vs. Blue JacketsDec 21 7:34 PM