NHL Hockey

Werenski, Jackets top Ducks in OT

(TSX / STATS) -- COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski scored 1:21 into overtime, the first game-winning goal of his career, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 Wednesday at Nationwide Arena.

Werenski converted Alex Wennberg's backhand pass into the slot. He had two shots on goal in 21:36 of ice time against the Ducks.

"It's open ice," Columbus left winger Brandon Saad of the three-on-three overtime period, "I made a good play to the middle (in Blue Jackets zone). I just dived and tried to get a stick on it, then (Wennberg) took over and made a great play.

"He's a good player to have on your side."

Werenski added, "It was a big point for us. It was pretty cool to get that goal."

Unlike in previous seasons, the Blue Jackets are showing they have an ability to finish games, and Werenski is a big part of that.

"I think just going out there and playing my game and sticking to the system," he said of his performance this season. "Some nights, things aren't going to go your way. But, it's just playing hard every shift and make the next 'right' play. I think it's been working for me."

The Blue Jackets (6-3-2) improved to 4-0-1 in their past five games. The Ducks (6-5-3) saw a two-game winning streak end.

Saad had a goal and an assist, and Boone Jenner also scored for Columbus. Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves, though his shutout streak ended at 116:56.

Rikard Rakell and Nick Ritchie scored for the Ducks, who got 15 saves from John Gibson.

Anaheim tied the score at 2-2 just 1:25 into third period after Bobrovsky was caught out of position behind the net playing the puck. Joseph Cramarossa dished in front, and Ritchie had the final touch for the Ducks as the puck got it caught in Bobrovsky's skates and went into the net.

"I think any time you're down 2-0 on the road and come back and get a point, you've done something that doesn't darken the whole day because we lost in overtime," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Blue Jackets were tenacious with their forecheck, cashing in just 1:23 into the first period when Scott Hartnell, positioned in front of the Anaheim net after a turnover at their blue line, set up Jenner.

After Gibson blocked Hartnell's shot, the rebound bounced into the slot. Jenner was following the play and backhanded the puck while off-balance into the net for his first goal of the season for a 1-0 Columbus advantage.

Just 4:06 later, Ryan Murray made a cross-ice pass from the left dot to Saad in the slot. Saad one-timed his shot past Gibson to give Columbus a 2-0 lead.

The Blue Jackets struggled to stay cohesive as the Ducks began to assert some control in the second period, dictating the pace during Columbus' second power play of the night.

"Even though we were up 2-0," Columbus left winger Nick Foligno said, "we allowed them back into the game. I didn't like that.

"But, we didn't get psyched out by that. We just kept our composure. Even though they were pushing, we pushed back and were able to find a way to win."

The Blue Jackets had a scare early in the game, as speedy Cam Atkinson blocked a shot and hobbled off to the bench, before heading down the tunnel. He returned to the bench a few minutes later.

Anaheim scored to halve Columbus' lead at 17:21 after Cam Fowler's shot was redirected by Rakell, sneaking between Bobrovsky and the goal post.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said, "winning games the right way.

"I thought we lost our engine in the second half (of) the second period. We just looked really flat, (but) we looked better in the third period. I think it's a big step in the right direction."

NOTES: Blue Jackets D Seth Jones is on injured reserve due to a hairline fracture of his foot. ... LW Sonny Milano was in the lineup for the Blue Jackets. ... Columbus C Brandon Dubinsky is out with a lower-body injury. ... Ducks RW Jared Boll makes his first return to Columbus since his contract was bought out, and he was given a video tribute. He played 518 games for the Blue Jackets. He finished a minus-1 in just 2:37 of game action Wednesday. ... Ducks D Hampus Lindholm made his season debut, and he finished a minus-1 in 18:33 of ice time. ... Anaheim scratches were D Korbinian Holzer and C Michael Sgarbossa. ... The Blue Jackets' scratches were Dubinsky and D Scott Harrington.

Updated November 10, 2016

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