COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a night of struggles and miscues, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson emerged with the game-winning goal and his sense of humor intact.
Johnson scored on a fluttering wrister from the blue line, one that whizzed past Colorado Avalanche goaltender Calvin Picard with 1:07 remaining to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 win on Friday in Nationwide Arena.
"Pinpoint blast!" Johnson joked.
"I was just trying to get the puck past the first guy, the forward right in front of me," he said. "I wasn't thinking it would go in."
Johnson's sixth goal of the season, and his second game-winner, appeared to bounce, then carom off the left skate of Colorado left winger Cody McLeod and shoot through another Avalanche skater before settling into the net.
As the horn blared and the crowd roared, Johnson looked up to the rafters and opened his arms.
"I just couldn't believe it went in," Johnson said. "I was just happy just to contribute to the win. It wasn't one of my better games, but it's better to be lucky than good."
Center Brandon Dubinsky also scored for the Blue Jackets, while rookie goaltender Joonas Korpisalo had 29 saves for his second consecutive victory.
Right winger Chris Wagner had the only Avalanche goal, while goaltender Calvin Pickard - making a second consecutive start in place of Semyon Varlamov - had 19 saves.
The Avalanche have dropped three of the last four games.
"We were really sharp tonight, except for the first shift of the game," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "We were impeccable in our own end. We deserved more than we got, but that's how this game is.
"Pick made some good saves for us. A game like this, you never know what could happened. The puck bounces around on that last goal, and then it goes in."
The Blue Jackets, who have won two straight after a four-game losing streak, took a 1-0 lead only 58 seconds into the game.
Defenseman Ryan Murray skated the puck in from the left point, centering a pass to the slot before he skated behind the Avalanche net.
Dubinksy was there for the one-timer, and even though he partially fanned on the shot, the puck fluttered over Pickard's gloves and into the goal.
"I thought both teams were fast in the first period," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "But then we struggled in the second period, too much East and West. Even in the third it was a little sketchy.
"But we kept grinding away and stayed with it."
The Avalanche pulled even at 1-1 on Wagner's goal at 6:02 of the second period. It was Wagner's fourth goal of the season, although Colorado veteran Jarome Iginla did most of the heavy-lifting.
Iginla skated the puck through traffic on the right circle, then made a perfect centering pass to Wagner as he neared Korpisalo. Wagner redirected the puck and it slid slowly through Korpisalo's pads.
The Blue Jackets thought they had taken a 2-1 lead at 14:16 of the second period, but an apparent goal by center William Karlsson was disallowed when officials ruled he used a "distinct kicking motion" to guide the puck into the net.
Seconds before Johnson's game-winner, Pickard made a brilliant stop on Blue Jackets left winger Brandon Saad to preserve the tie.
But the Blue Jackets maintained the zone, and the puck ended up on Johnson's stick on the left point.
With no options, he sent a wrister toward the net.
"It's a bounce for us," Tortorella said. "You take the two points and go."
NOTES: The Blue Jackets will be without D David Savard for "weeks," coach John Tortorella said, after he suffered an upper-body injury in Wednesday's win in Toronto. Savard leads Columbus defenseman with 15 assists and 16 points. ... Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky (groin) was activated from the injured list and served as Korpisalo's backup. Bobrovsky hasn't played since Dec. 8. He came off injured reserve on Dec. 26, but aggravated the injury. ... Colorado D Andrew Bodnarchuk was a healthy scratch for a second straight game, meaning he won't get to face his former club. The Jackets lost him on waivers to Colorado on Jan. 5.