Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 10/23

Game 1: Wednesday, October 23rd
Blue Jackets2

Lightning 2

(4-0-0, 10 pts)

Blue Jackets 2

(2-3-0, 5 pts)

7:00 PM ET, October 23, 2002

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 OT T
TB 1 0 1 02
CBJ 2 0 0 02

G. Sanderson (Blue Jackets - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. St. Louis (Lightning - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

L. Richardson (Blue Jackets - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Sanderson scores twice in first period of tie

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A year ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning probably would have folded after falling behind 2-0 in the opening nine minutes.

Geoff Sanderson

Instead, the Lightning (4-0-2-0) are the only team still unbeaten in the NHL.

Columbus' Geoff Sanderson scored twice in the first period, but the Lightning came back from a two-goal deficit for the third time this season to salvage a 2-2 tie Wednesday night.

"Guys believe they can score goals and we can come back on teams,'' said Dave Andreychuk, who had a power-play goal 12 seconds into the third period to close the scoring.

It also doesn't hurt to have Nikolai Khabibulin in goal. He had 24 saves -- many of them in heavy traffic on shots from the wings.

"We were able to battle back,'' Khabibulin said. "We didn't take them lightly. We knew coming in here that they're a hardworking team, especially playing at home. It was just one of those games.''

Sanderson, who scored an empty-netter in a 4-1 win over Florida on Saturday night, connected on his only two shots of the opening period to give him three goals in as many shots.

He scored an even-strength goal 2 minutes in, skating from the corner, deking Vaclav Prospal and then sliding the puck between Khabibulin's leg pads.

"He's a great goalie. He's probably one of the best in the league -- I'm sure he's in the top three or four,'' Sanderson said. "He probably would have liked to have that first one back. It was kind of a weak goal.''

At 8:22, Sanderson notched his third goal of the season when he redirected Andrew Cassels' shot from a hard angle on the power play.

It was the sixth game in a row this season that the Blue Jackets have scored a power-play goal, setting a franchise record.

Martin St. Louis scored his sixth goal with just over a minute left in the first period off a nifty backhander that eluded Columbus' Espen Knutsen and then slipped past goaltender Marc Denis.

Denis mishandled Andreychuk's blast from the slot 12 seconds into the third period, the puck dropping out of his catcher and bouncing past the goal line.

"You've got to give that team a lot of credit,'' Columbus coach Dave King said. "They don't lose their focus during the game. They keep coming at you and they chip away.''

The final 25 minutes belonged to Khabibulin, who made several outstanding saves. He made a sprawling glove save on Jaroslav Spacek with 8½ minutes left and then smothered Ray Whitney's redirect with 2½ minutes remaining.

"We're a little disappointed, we could have two points,'' Whitney said. "But we aren't disappointed in how we played or our individual efforts.''

In the overtime, Khabibulin faced more pressure after Dan Boyle was called for interference with 2:17 remaining.

Khabibulin stopped Sanderson's one-timer from Whitney with just over a minute left. In the final seconds, Sanderson fanned on a shot from the slot.

"We showed a lot of character at the end, diving around and blocking shots,'' Andreychuk said.

Tampa Bay's Brad Richards hit a slap shot off the post with 6 minutes left in regulation. Denis, who had 25 saves, had a brilliant kick save on Jassen Cullimore's hard shot early in the overtime.

Game notes

After 58 consecutive sellouts at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets had their second consecutive non-sellout. ... Tampa Bay C Vincent Lecavalier missed his second game after sustaining a right knee sprain in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. He's expected to miss 10-to-14 days. ... It was the only meeting of the season between the teams.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press