Alex Tanguay scored on a one-timer 1:07 into overtime to lead the Calgary Flames past the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Thursday night in a battle of Western Conference cellar-dwellers.
Shortly after Columbus threatened on two shots by Fedor Tyutin, the Flames had an odd-man rush and Jarome Iginla saucered a cross-ice setup to Tanguay, who unloaded from the right dot.
Roman Cervenka, Mikael Backlund and Lee Stempniak scored for the Flames, who won their second in a row. Jiri Hudler and T.J. Brodie each had two assists.
Mark Letestu had a goal and two assists for the first three-point game of his 145-career, while Vinny Prospal had a goal and an assist and Matt Calvert also scored for the Blue Jackets.
The teams came into the game with the fewest points in the Western Conference, Calgary (2-3-2) last with six and Columbus (3-6-1) 14th with seven.
The Flames were without two of their top players. Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is listed as day to day with a leg injury. Center Mike Cammalleri, tied for the team lead in assists with five, was a game-time decision with an undisclosed injury.
Leland Irving took Kiprusoff's place in net in just his ninth NHL game — and recorded his second career victory while making 26 saves.
Tanguay extended his points streak to seven games in a row, during which he has four goals and five assists.
Tied at 2 heading into the third period, the Flames carried over their domination from the second.
With 4 seconds left in a power play, Stempniak notched his fourth. He was racing along the right wing with the puck when he let go of a hard, rising slap shot that eluded Bobrovsky. Irving picked up an assist on the goal.
The Blue Jackets countered with 9 minutes left in regulation when Letestu forced a turnover with a check in the neutral zone and carried the puck into the offensive zone. He left a drop pass for Prospal, who found the net with a one-timer from just outside the left hash mark to tie it again.
Irving got enough of Tyutin's hard shot early in the overtime to send it high into the air and behind the cage. Tyutin was then wide on a shot off a backdoor pass — with the Flames taking advantage at the other end almost immediately.
Down a goal heading into the second, the Flames kept the puck in their offensive zone for long stretches of the period. They finally got the tying goal when T.J. Brodie's blast from the top of the left circle resulted in a big rebound off of Sergei Bobrovsky, with Backlund there to clean up for his fourth of the year — and the 50th point of his career.
The teams traded goals in a 25-second span of the opening period.
Dennis Wideman unleashed a hard, low shot from the blue line directly in front of the Blue Jackets' bench that Cervenka got a stick on, the puck rising to beat Bobrovsky, who had 26 saves.
Before Wideman's first goal of the year could be announced, Calvert carried the puck from the left boards after it was chopped out by Prospal. Shadowed by defenseman Mark Giordano, Calvert got off a wrister from the middle of the left circle that beat Irving on the stick side.
After Tanguay was sent to the penalty box for interference, the Blue Jackets — just 24th in the NHL with a man advantage — took the lead.
Derick Brassard set up Letestu with a tape-to-tape pass through the high slot. Letestu's one-timer, just inside the near post before Irving could slide across, was his fourth of the season to tie him for the team lead.
Bobrovsky, who sat out the last two games while Steve Mason was in net, made several outstanding stops in the first period. In the opening minute he gloved a hard shot by Iginla. He stopped Cervenka on another shot while sitting on the ice. Near the end of the period, he twice grabbed redirects, one by Hudler and another off a blast by Wideman that appeared to hit Iginla.
Bobrovsky also got a break or two. He almost kicked in a shot by Tanguay on a power play early in the second, but the puck went off the post.
NOTES: The last three meetings had gone to a shootout with the visiting team winning each. ... Irving was making his first start since March 16, 2012, a 3-1 loss to Edmonton. His first and only NHL win came on Dec. 23, 2011, a 3-1 win in Vancouver. ... Extending points streaks for Columbus were Brassard (2-2-4) in four games and Letestu (2-3-5) in three. ... Calgary improved to 8-14-1 in Nationwide Arena.
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