COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Unable to join his Latvian teammates at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Sergei Zholtok did his job half a continent away.
Zholtok scored twice for the second straight game, including the tying goal with 2:32 left to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-3 tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
But Zholtok, captain of Latvia's Olympic team, was visibly upset as he watched his countrymen get eliminated by Germany on television in the Wild locker room.
"If I cannot be there, I'd rather be performing well here," he said.
With Minnesota forcing the action in the final minutes, Zholtok pounced on a loose puck near the right hash mark and slapped it past goalie Marc Denis for his 16th goal of the season.
"It was one of those games where we battled back and showed some character," Zholtok said. "We were losing the entire game, but we still came up with a big point."
The Blue Jackets, 0-3-1-1 in their last five home games, never trailed.
"It was not a great tie," Columbus coach Dave King said. "We played a pretty good game, actually, and then found a way to get scored on late in the game again. That's happened to us quite a bit this year. The guys are disappointed."
Geoff Sanderson had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, giving him 501 career points.
Rostislav Klesla and Deron Quint, both coming off injuries, added goals for the Blue Jackets. Ray Whitney and Espen Knutsen each had two assists.
Quint, back from a thigh bruise, made it 3-2 early in the third period when he redirected Knutsen's shot for the Blue Jackets' second power-play goal.
Klesla, out the last seven games with a sprained shoulder, opened the scoring off a pass from Sanderson with his sixth goal of the season and first in a month.
After Zholtok countered on the power play, Sanderson's one-timer gave Columbus a 2-1 lead.
"I was due," Sanderson said. "I just hope it's the start of a streak."
It was the first multipoint game of the season for Sanderson, who had 11 last year while leading the expansion team in goals (30) and points (56).
Jason Marshall's third goal tied it before the teams traded third-period goals.
Denis stopped Wes Walz on a breakaway, and Manny Fernandez made a toe save on Quint in overtime.
Notes: Without an Olympian, all the Blue Jackets will take the next 13 days off. ... The Wild are 2-1-1-1 against their expansion partners. ... Minnesota was playing its first game without D Filip Kuba, expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks with a broken hand.
Minnesota 1 1 1 0 -- 3
Columbus 2 0 1 0 -- 3
First Period--1, Columbus, Klesla 6 (Sanderson, Kron), 4:28. 2, Minnesota, Zholtok 15 (Sekeras, Brunette), 16:05 (pp). 3, Columbus, Sanderson 4 (Whitney, Knutsen), 18:09 (pp). Penalties--Dineen, Clm (interference), 8:18; Dowd, Min (tripping), 9:53; Grand-Pierre, Clm (cross-checking), 15:08; Blouin, Min, minor-major-misconduct (instigator, fighting), 17:52; Shelley, Clm, major (fighting), 17:52; G.Marshall, Clm (roughing), 19:12.
Second Period--4, Minnesota, J.Marshall 3 (Schultz, Hendrickson), 12:55 (pp). Penalties--Park, Min (tripping), 3:44; Laaksonen, Min (slashing), 8:54; Wright, Clm (tripping), 11:00.
Third Period--5, Columbus, Quint 6 (Knutsen, Whitney), 2:13 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Zholtok 16, 17:23. Penalties--Walz, Min (goalie interference), 1:08; Grand-Pierre, Clm (holding), 10:07; Zholtok, Min (holding), 11:25.
Shots on goal--Minnesota 7-11-9-7--34. Columbus 11-9-7-3--30.
Power-play Opportunities--Minnesota 2 of 5; Columbus 2 of 6.
Goalies--Minnesota, Fernandez 9-16-4 (30 shots-27 saves). Columbus, Denis 8-15-5 (34-31).
Referees--Mike Hasenfratz, Dean Warren. Linesmen--Angelo D'Amico, Thor Nelson.
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