for this game

Huselius, Blue Jackets edge Avalanche

Jan 14, 2009 - 4:00 AM
By Dave Holstein PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- With eighth place on the line and two of the hottest goalies in the NHL, something had to give as the Colorado Avalanche visited the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Kristian Huselius recorded a goal and two assists and rookie Steve Mason made 23 saves as the Blue Jackets skated to a 4-3 triumph over the Avalanche and jumped into eighth place in the Western Conference.

"We are willing to do anything to win a hockey game," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Tonight wasn't a masterpiece, but we worked and stayed with it, we battled. We are back in a playoff spot and we'll try to keep it up."

"These are critical points," Colorado left wing Ryan Smyth said. "I know we have a lot of hockey left to play this year. It's the little things that make a difference and we have to play a full 60 minutes."

While Avalanche netminder Andrew Raycroft entered the game with a career-high seven-game winning streak, Mason leads the league in shutouts, save percentage and goals against average.

"The way both teams were playing, you figured it would be 2-1 or 1-0," Colorado coach Tony Granato said. "Obviously they were able to do it a little better than us tonight."

The pair kept up their high level of play for most of the game, but surrendered a combined five goals during a 3:41 stretch of the third, quickly turning a 1-1 game into a track meet.

"It kind of turned into a Chinese fire drill there in the third period," Raycroft said. "There were pucks and bodies going everywhere."

"It was a sense of urgency on both sides," Hitchcock said. "There were times when neither teams' defense could handle the other teams' forwards. We felt comfortable when it was 4-2 and nervous when it was 4-3."

Colorado rookie Chris Stewart answered a power-play goal by R.J. Umberger in just 50 seconds to knot the game, 2-2, but Columbus netted a pair of goals in a 30-second span to build a two-goal lead.

"It was a tight checking game but you have to do it for 60 minutes," Raycroft said. "It's frustrating because we did play solid for 40 minutes and we just let it slip for six or seven minutes in the third - and it cost us."

Huselius and Michael Peca scored at 8:41 and 9:11 respectively, giving the Blue Jackets a 4-2 advantage they would not relinquish.

"It was good to get the goal right back after giving one up," Huselius said. "It gave us the momentum right back and then Peca scored and that was the difference."

"I missed an empty net that I was unhappy about," Peca said. "But pucks seem to be finding me and this time I was able to find the upper half of the net and finish it."

The Avalanche opened the scoring as Marek Svatos scored his seventh goal of the season off a rebound with 2:45 remaining in the first period.

Columbus tied the score late in the first period when rookie Jakub Voracek tallied with just under two minutes left in the period.

"When he (Huselius) went behind the net I knew he was going to pass it back to me," Voracek said. "I just threw it back from the backhand and I was lucky it went in."

Smyth scored a power-play goal at 10:27 to complete the scoring.

Raycroft finished with 23 saves for the Avalanche.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 0 2 3
    COLUMBUS 0 1 3 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - MAREK SVATOS 7 (CHRIS STEWART, T.J. HENSICK) 17:15
    2ND PRD: COB - JAKUB VORACEK 6 (KRISTIAN HUSELIUS, R.J. UMBERGER)
    18:11
    3RD PRD: COB - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 13 (KRIS RUSSELL, KRISTIAN
    HUSELIUS) 6:46
    COL - CHRI

    Jan 13 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 3
    COLUMBUS 4
    3RD PRD: COL - (PP) RYAN SMYTH 15 (BRETT CLARK) 10:27

    Avalanche 3, Blue Jackets 4  3rd - 9:33Jan 13 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    COLUMBUS 4
    3RD PRD: COB - MICHAEL PECA 4 (UNASSISTED) 9:11

    Avalanche 2, Blue Jackets 4  3rd - 10:49Jan 13 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    COLUMBUS 3
    3RD PRD: COB - KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 13 (MANNY MALHOTRA, JARED BOLL) 8:41

    Avalanche 2, Blue Jackets 3  3rd - 11:19Jan 13 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    COLUMBUS 2
    3RD PRD: COL - CHRIS STEWART 4 (TYLER ARNASON) 7:36

    Avalanche 2, Blue Jackets 2  3rd - 12:24Jan 13 9:03 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    COLUMBUS 2
    3RD PRD: COB - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 13 (KRIS RUSSELL, KRISTIAN HUSELIUS)
    6:46

    Avalanche 1, Blue Jackets 2  3rd - 13:14Jan 13 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 0 1
    COLUMBUS 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - MAREK SVATOS 7 (CHRIS STEWART, T.J. HENSICK) 17:15
    2ND PRD: COB - JAKUB VORACEK 6 (R.J. UMBERGER, KRISTIAN HUSELIUS)
    18:11
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 8

    Jan 13 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    COLUMBUS 1
    2ND PRD: COB - JAKUB VORACEK 6 (R.J. UMBERGER, KRISTIAN HUSELIUS)
    18:11

    Avalanche 1, Blue Jackets 1  2nd - 1:49Jan 13 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1
    COLUMBUS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - MAREK SVATOS 7 (CHRIS STEWART, T.J. HENSICK) 17:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 8 8
    COB 11 11
    GOALIES: COL - ANDREW RAYCROFT


    Jan 13 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    COLUMBUS 0
    1ST PRD: COL - MAREK SVATOS 7 (CHRIS STEWART, T.J. HENSICK) 17:15

    Avalanche 1, Blue Jackets 0  1st - 2:45Jan 13 7:37 PM