The Avalanche simply hate overtime. While other playoff-interested teams occassionally send tied 3rd Period games into extra frames, Colorado looks for every possible way to avoid playing more than the required 60 minutes. Tonight, they let in the game-winning goal, an awkward bouncing puck that kicked up from Cody McLeod's skate, with just 1:07 remaining in the contest. If Calvin Pickard were an MLB shortstop, he would have received an E6 from the official scorer.
The Avs also failed to start the game in strong fashion. Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray got the puck in his own end and skated up the left boards more or less untouched, finding himself below the Colorado goal line with plenty of options. With Nikita Zadorov close behind, Murray passed the puck out in front of the goal to Brandon Dubinsky, who was wide open in the slot, putting the Blue Jackets up 1-0 with just 58 seconds counted off from the beginning of the game (Video).
The next goal would come from Chris Wagner in the 2nd Period. A fantastic Chris Bigras read led him to steal a Blue Jackets pass mid-ice, who dished to Wagner, who passed back to a trailing Jarome Iginla. Looking for goal No. 602, Iginla ripped a wrist shot toward the net and Wagner tipped the puck five-hole on Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo to tie the game 1-1 (Video).
Despite their best efforts, the Avalanche just couldn't get the puck past Korpisalo again. The game appeared a stalemate and headed into overtime until one final shot from Jack Johnson knuckle-pucked along the ice and improbably deflected off an outstretched McLeod past Pickard for the game-winning goal (Video).
The loss against last-place Columbus dropped the Avalanche to 22-21-3 and will need help from Minnesota tonight to remain in the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Colorado will now head across to border to Winnipeg to play the Jets on Monday.