COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets stretched their winning streak to three games on Saturday night, beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 with a three-goal third period.
It was also Columbus' second straight come-from-behind win.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored with 30 seconds left in the game, following Cole Sillinger's goal 32 seconds earlier and Alexandre Texier's with about six and a half minutes left. Gabriel Carlsson also scored, while Elvis Merzlikins stopped 33 shots and added an assist for his fifth win this year.
“I love how we came out in the third,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “We came to win a game. They wanted to go get that win. That’s a great sign for a young hockey team.”
Andre Burakovsky scored twice for the Avalanche, and Darcy Kuemper had 38 saves.
“Tonight we had a good start, but were frustrated we couldn’t capitalize on any power plays,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We didn’t respond when we needed to and their last periods against us showed that.”
Colorado dominated puck possession early, but Columbus jumped on the board first at 11:44 of the opening period when Jakub Voracek fought off defenders along the boards and found a charging Carlsson for his first goal of the season.
The assist was Voracek’s 10th of the season and fifth in three games, extending his point streak to three games. Yegor Chinakhov earned his first NHL point with the secondary assist.
“Jake looked like he had legs of a 20-year-old tonight,” Larsen said of the 32-year-old Voracek. “He was flying.”
Burakovsky, back after missing Colorado’s last game with a lower-body injury, knotted the score at 1 with a one-timer from Nazem Kadri with about four minutes left in the first. The goal was his second of the season and first since Oct. 16. Nadri has points in four straight games and four assists in his last two games.
Burakosvsky then made it 2-1 Colorado amid a fast-paced second period on an unassisted backhander over Merzlikins' right shoulder at 13:16.
Columbus, however, was far from done. Texier knotted the score at 2 by firing an Eric Robinson feed past Kuemper with about six minutes left in the third, with Merzlikins earning his first assist on the clearing pass.
“We used our speed,” Texier said. “(Robinson) made a pretty nice play. I didn’t think too much. I just sprinted to the net.”
Sillinger deflected a Chinakhov shot for his third goal in two games, and Bjorkstrand added an empty-netter with 30 seconds left in the game.
“All of us are in really good shape,” Sillinger said. “We can skate like that for 60 minutes. Believing we can pull it off is a big thing. If you don’t believe, it’s not going to happen.”
Columbus won for the fifth time this season after scoring first and tied the team’s best 10-game start to the season at 7-3-0.
Both teams were futile on the power play, going a combined 0-8.
“We played a little loose towards the end,” Burakovsky said. “We need to be stronger in the end. We turned the puck over too many times. We have to play harder and fulfill our roles better.”
The Blue Jackets played without Patrik Laine, who suffered an oblique strain late in Columbus’ 5-4 overtime win Wednesday night in Colorado. Laine is second on the team in points (10) and has two game-winning goals on the season. He is estimated to be on sidelined four to six weeks. ... Columbus' Max Domi remained in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
WELCOME BACK, PART 1
Colorado forwards Mikko Rantanen and Burakovsky, as well as defenseman Devon Toews returned for Colorado after missing time because of injuries. Rantanen missed three games with a lower-body injury, Burakovsky missed one with the same and Toews made his season debut after offseason shoulder surgery.
WELCOME BACK, PART 2
The Blue Jackets paid tribute to defenseman Ryan Murray, who signed with Colorado as a free agent in August. Other Columbus connections for the Avalanche included forward Jack Johnson, who played seven seasons with the Blue Jackets and served as an alternate captain, and Columbus-born Keifer Sherwood who played three seasons for the AAA Blue Jackets.
Avalanche: Host Vancouver on Thursday night.
Blue Jackets: Host Washington on Friday night.