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MIN02114

Walz scores creative OT goal to cap Wild comeback

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Wes Walz was in the net, and the goal

light was on.

Feeling Minnesota

Minnesota Wild

There's something special about hockey in Minnesota -- at least for the Wild. The co-leaders of the Northwest Division have been stellar in St. Paul but dismal away from home:

Stat

Home

Away

Record

15-3-1

4-14-1

Goals PG

3.0

2.2

GAA

2.05

3.27

When it all sorted out, Minnesota had its sixth straight home

victory.

Walz scored a controversial goal 1:29 into overtime to give

Minnesota a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday

night.

Martin Skoula's centering attempt deflected up the leg of Walz,

who was being checked into the net by Jason Chimera, and lodged in

Walz's equipment. It took nearly 7 minutes for the review that

confirmed the goal.

"I honestly didn't know where the puck was," Walz said. "I am

just thankful that they could see the puck. I was hoping it wasn't

one of those commonsense deals that the puck is in my pants, I'm in

the back of the net, but because they can't see the puck in the net

he wasn't going to call it."

Instead, Referee Tom Kowal said a penalty was to be called and

the whistle blew because the puck could not be seen. "We wave it

off, we have no goal on the ice. The play is under review between

here in the building and Toronto. Shows the puck going in Walz's

equipment, and Walz is completely in the net. It's a goal."

Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock would only say, "The goal will

be a mess and it will be discussed forever."

He was more upset that the Blue Jackets were whistled for 11

penalties, compared to four for Minnesota.

"You can't continue to kill penalties and expect to win,

especially on the road," he said. "We just ran out of steam

because it was back-to-back and we had to use a short bench because

of that."

Brian Rolston had two power-play goals, and Pavol Demitra also

scored on the power play for the Wild.

Chimera, Joakim Lindstrom and Alexander Svitov scored for

Columbus, which blew a 4-3 third-period lead to Detroit Thursday and

lost 7-4.

Rolston tied it at 3 at 7:25 of the third period, one-timing a

pass from Kurtis Foster past Ty Conklin from above the right

circle.

Then the goalies took over, with their best saves coming just

seconds apart.

Minnesota's Manny Fernandez, who finished with 26 saves, stopped

Rick Nash on a short-handed breakaway with about eight minutes to

play, and a shot by Rolston was deflected by Conklin.

Coach Jacques Lemaire, who has been critical of Fernandez in

recent days for not coming up with the big stop when his team

needed one, said the stop on Nash was "the whole game. ... That is

what we are looking for from our goaltender."

Minnesota needed the lift after losses in Toronto and Detroit

earlier this week extended Minnesota's winless road streak to 10

games. The Wild, who are tied with Anaheim for the league lead in

home victories with 15, are home for their next four outings.

"When that happens you have got to win games at home," Foster

said. "We need to win as many of these as we can and we have to

eventually take this confidence from home on the road."

Chimera gave Columbus the lead with the lone goal of the first

period.

Nikolai Zherdev chased the puck down just below the right circle

and centered it to Chimera, charging down the slot, for a tip past

Fernandez.

In his sixth NHL game, Lindstrom put the Blue Jackets up 2-0

early in the second period, converting a pass from Nash, the

recipient of a turnover by Brent Burns below the end line. It was

Lindstrom's first career goal.

Rolston answered for Minnesota 2 minutes later, beating Conklin

with a slap shot.

Conklin, recalled from Syracuse of the AHL on Thursday to

replace the injured Pascal Leclaire, finished with 20 saves. It was

his first Columbus start after signing with the Blue Jackets as a

free agent on July 6. He appeared in two games in relief earlier

this month.

"I felt like I haven't played for a while, felt like I hadn't

played in the NHL for a while, for a couple of months," Conklin

said.

Demitra scored at 8:01 of the second period when he tipped a

shot from Todd White past Conklin to tie the game, but Svitov

tipped a shot from David Vyborny past Fernandez with 52 seconds

left in the second period for a 3-2 Columbus lead. Vyborny has six

points in his last three games.Game notes
Eight of Minnesota's 15 home wins have come in overtime or

a shootout. ... Conklin was 2-10-1 in Syracuse, but had a .905 save

percentage. ... Minnesota LW Stephane Veilleux returned after

missing three games with a broken nose. ... Wild D Petteri

Nummelin, who skated before the team's morning skate, missed his

fifth straight game with an upper body injury. ... Columbus has

scored at least three goals in 13 of 18 games since Ken Hitchcock

became coach Nov. 22.