Werenski scores in final seconds of OT, Columbus tops Stars
By NICOLE KRAFT
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Zach Werenski scored with 4.5 seconds in overtime and Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 Saturday night.
Werenski's game-winner, his first goal since Jan. 23, came off the rebound of a shot by Oliver Bjorkstrand.
"He shot it and I just tried to follow the rebound," Werenski said. "Not much to it."
Max Domi added a goal and an assist, Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno also scored, and Jack Roslovic finished with three assists as Columbus snapped a three-game losing streak.
Columbus did not have a second-period shot on goal until 11:33 - a drought of 12:48 - but made up for it with a pair of goals in a span of a minute by Atkinson and Foligno.
"In a couple games we have found a way to lose after playing some good minutes," Foligno said. "Tonight we found a way to win after playing some good minutes."
Andrew Cogliano, Andrej Sekera and Denis Gurianov scored for Dallas.
Jake Oettinger had 22 saves for the Stars, who have lost two straight and seven of nine.
The Stars are 1-5 in their last six road games and 1-7 in the last eight games in Columbus.
"We played good hockey," Cogliano said. "I thought our game was as good as you're going to get. A couple of execution errors, and they're in the back of the net."
The game had just one penalty, with the Blue Jackets Emil Bemstrom missing a penalty shot after being pulled down by Jamie Benn at 10:02 of the third.
"It wasn't our prettiest game," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We always talk about how to find a way to get to points, and we found a way tonight."
Cam Atkinson joined Rick Nash as the only Blue Jackets to play in 600 games. He is second on the franchise's all-time list behind Nash in goals, assists and points with 209-180-389 and set the franchise mark with 16 career short-handed goals. This season Atkinson has the team lead in goals with 11 and leads the league in short-handed goals with four.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
The game marked first goals after long droughts for players on both teams. Cogliano's goal in the first period was his third on the season, but first since Jan. 31, a span of 16 games. Sakera's score was his first of the season after missing four games due to COVID protocols and another with injury. Gurianov's goal was his first in 15 games, last scoring Feb. 2. Foligno had not scored a goal since Feb. 7, a span of 16 games.
Vladislav Gavrikov returned to the Blue Jackets' lineup, replacing Gabriel Carlsson. The defenseman missed Thursday's loss to the Florida Panthers due to a personal matter. He has six points in 28 games this season
The teams wrap up the two-game series on Sunday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated March 13, 2021