For 58 minutes, Peter Budaj was perfect then things got interesting.
"What is it you Americans say?" quipped the Slovakian-born goalie. "It's not over until the lady, the fat lady sings."
Budaj stopped 21 shots and the Colorado Avalanche survived a late scare to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in the NHL on Tuesday.
Budaj nearly blanked the Blue Jackets for the second time this season, but Rick Nash scored his 18th and 19th goals in the final two minutes for Columbus.
"The guys did a great job through two periods, only 12 shots on net," Budaj said. "At the end they scored two quick goals, but overall it was a big effort for us and a big two points."
Columbus was 0-for-3 on the power play. The Blue Jackets' power play on the road ranks 28th of 30 teams.
"We didn't have a very good start to this one," Nash said. "Had we started the way we finished, it would have been a different outcome.
"We just ran out of time."
Columbus picked up the pressure early in the third period. Budaj made two saves through screens while killing a power play including a glove save against Adam Foote's slap shot from the left point.
Budaj caught a break at 10:30 when Curtis Glencross hit the crossbar.
"I played with Budaj in juniors so I know what he can do," Nash said. "He is good, but we didn't test him enough."
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now