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01/29/2013 11:58 PM EST
Bouchard's goal lifts Wild over Blue Jackets 3-2
MINNESOTA 3, COLUMBUS 2

By ADAM CZECH
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Concussions have kept Pierre-Marc
Bouchard out of Minnesota's lineup most of the past three
seasons. He's back now, and it couldn't come at a better time
for the Wild.



Bouchard scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period and
Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the
Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Tuesday night.



With the Wild seemingly on their heels after giving up a
two-goal lead, Bouchard took a pass from Torrey Mitchell near
the blue line, zoomed past two Columbus defenders and beat
goalie Steve Mason above his right glove.



There appeared to be a little extra emotion as Bouchard pumped
his fist and dropped to a knee while celebrating the goal.



"It's pretty fun. The last few years have been pretty tough,"
Bouchard said. "It's good to be back and play those kinds of
games and win some hockey games."



Mikko Koivu and Tom Gilbert also scored for Minnesota.



Mark Letestu and Jack Johnson had goals for the Blue Jackets.



After Columbus beat Dallas to snap a four-game skid, the Blue
Jackets' flight to the Twin Cities on Monday night was canceled
because of fog, forcing the team to leave on Tuesday at 11 a.m.



Columbus looked sluggish early and trailed 2-0 after the first
period.



"We play our best hockey when we're playing from behind, but it
seems like we're always playing from behind," Johnson said. "It
would be nice to get a lead for a change."



Koivu took a rebound, skated to the side of the net and banked
the puck off Mason to open the scoring midway through the first.



Gilbert flicked the puck into an open net after corralling a
deflection off a Columbus player's shin pad late in the first to
make it 2-0.



Just as it has all season, Minnesota's top line of Zach Parise,
Dany Heatley and Koivu did most of the heavy lifting early. The
Wild desperately needed a contribution from their other lines,
and finally got it.



"Take pressure off the top guys, it's key," Mitchell said.
"Secondary scoring is big. Guys are doing the right things and
it's going to come around. There's no doubt in the locker room
about that. But it's nice to get one, at least tonight."



Parise appeared to make it 3-1 late in the second, but the goal
was disallowed after replays showed the puck going in off his
extended forearm.



The Blue Jackets have struggled to score after trading Rick Nash
to the New York Rangers in the offseason. Columbus has allowed
the first goal in five of its first seven games and has just 13
goals on the season.



The Blue Jackets managed only five shots through the first 31
minutes and didn't register a second-period shot until 11
minutes had elapsed.



But just as it did Monday night after falling behind early
against Dallas, Columbus came back.



Letestu made it 2-1 late in the second after a long sequence in
the Wild end without a whistle.



Johnson's shot from the point on a power play tied it 7:32 into
the third. It was Columbus' first goal in its last 23 power-play
opportunities.



"You tie it up and you want the point or the two points," former
Wild and current Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "But when
you sit back and think about the game and the way it went and
how you played, in the end we got what we deserved because we
weren't good enough for 60 minutes."



Mason robbed Matt Cullen of a goal early in the second, then did
the same to Parise on a wraparound attempt late in the second to
keep it close heading into the final period.



After Bouchard's goal, the Blue Jackets had another power play
but failed to tie the game.



"We've talked a lot about other guys contributing besides the
top line, but it's more than just scoring goals," Wild coach
Mike Yeo said. "It's going out and playing minutes and playing
the right way."



NOTES: The game was stopped briefly midway through the second
after linesman Thor Nelson was hit in the side of the face with
the puck on a clearing attempt. Nelson completed the second
period, but didn't come out for the third. The third period was
played with just one linesman. ... Koivu has 24 points in 24
career games against Columbus. ... Jared Boll fought Clayton
Stoner in the second. Boll entered the game leading the NHL in
fighting majors. ... It was the Wild's 500th game at the Xcel
Energy Center.

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