COLUMBUS, Ohio -Manny Malhotra scored in the 11th shootout round to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

After Columbus goaltender Pascal Leclaire smothered Chuck Kobasew’s shot, Malhotra skated down the middle of the ice and wristed a hard shot between Jamie McLennan’s leg pads.

The Blue Jackets, who failed on four earlier chances to win the shootout, surrounded a smiling Malhotra to congratulate him and Leclaire.

It was the second-longest shootout this season. The New York Rangers beat Philadelphia in the 13th round on Oct. 7.

David Vyborny had two goals, Sergei Fedorov had a goal and an assist, and Ron Hainsey and Fredrik Modin each had two assists for Columbus, which had lost six of seven. The Blue Jackets improved to 8-2-1 at home in the series against Calgary. Duvie Westcott also had a goal.

Daymond Langkow, slumping early in the season, broke out with a goal and two assists. Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf each added a goal and an assist for the Flames, who have lost four in a row overall and five straight on the road. Alex Tanguay added a goal.

The Flames trailed 3-1 after a period but scored the next three goals to take the lead for the first time. Columbus tied it 4-4 on Vyborny’s power-play tally, his second goal of the game and fourth this season, that came with 7:09 remaining in regulation.

Thrashers 4, Capitals 3

WASHINGTON – Steve Rucchin’s go-ahead goal 27 seconds into the third period gave backup goalie Johan Hedberg and the Atlanta Thrashers a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

The Southeast Division leaders ended their two-game losing streak, but not before trailing 2-0 as the second period neared the midway mark. The Thrashers then netted three goals in less than 31/2 minutes, helped by some odd bounces off Capitals, to take the lead.

Hedberg was making only his second start and third appearance of the season, replacing Kari Lehtonen, who was pulled from Atlanta’s previous game after giving up four goals on 13 shots. Dainius Zubrus scored twice for last-place Washington, which has lost all three games against Atlanta this season by the same score.

, although one ended in a shootout and another in overtime.

Zubrus’ second goal of the game and ninth of the season was scored with 5.3 seconds remaining in the second period. It came after a goalmouth scramble and was initially waved off because officials thought a hand pass was made, then awarded after a video review.

So it was 3-3 heading into the final period – and Rucchin changed that right away.

Jon Sim, who tallied Atlanta’s first goal, brought the puck to the blue line, where he passed it to Rucchin. No one from the Capitals really challenged the center, and Rucchin lifted a shot between goalie Olie Kolzig and the near post for his second of the season.

From there, Hedberg was steady enough, finishing with 27 saves, seven in the third period.

And he avoided having to face a late power play, when Sim was sent to the penalty box for tripping Calder Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin with less than five minutes left. The Capitals were whistled at the same time for having too many men on the ice.

Hedberg was shaky early. Washington went ahead thanks to Zubrus’ power-play goal 12:10 in, and Chris Clark’s short-handed breakaway score 1:36 into the second period. Clark’s goal came 8 seconds after teammate Richard Zednik was whistled for hooking.

Sim’s seventh goal opened Atlanta’s three-goal spurt, when he one-timed a shot off a nice pass from Ilya Kovalchuk 11:35 into the second period. Greg De Vries was credited with the goal that made it 2-2; he began the play with a pass that went through defenseman Jamie Heward’s legs to Rucchin, whose shot bounced around off a couple of players, including De Vries, before getting past Kolzig.

Only 35 seconds later, Atlanta scored again. Vyacheslav Kozlov was credited with that one after another mess in front.

Notes: It was the first time Washington lost in regulation after scoring first. The Capitals had been 3-0-2 when taking a 1-0 lead. … The Canadian group Barenaked Ladies sang the national anthem. … Atlanta is in the midst of playing seven of eight on the road. … Last season, when Zubrus scored a career-high 23 goals, he didn’t get No. 9 until Jan. 8, in Washington’s 40th game. … Washington completed its first winning October (4-3-4) since 1997-98, when the Capitals reached the Stanley Cup finals.

AP-ES-11-03-06 2143EST



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