After Columbus goaltender Pascal Leclaire smothered Chuck Kobasew's shot, Malhotra skated down the middle of the ice and sent a hard wrist shot between Jamie McLennan's leg pads. The Blue Jackets, who failed on four earlier chances to win the shootout, surrounded a smiling Malhotra to congratulate him and Leclaire.
It was the second-longest shootout this season. The New York Rangers beat Philadelphia in the 13th round on Oct. 7.
David Vyborny had two goals, Sergei Fedorov had a goal and an assist, and Ron Hainsey and Fredrik Modin each had two assists for Columbus, which had lost six of seven. The Blue Jackets improved to 8-2-1 at home against Calgary. Duvie Westcott also had a goal.
Daymond Langkow, slumping early in the season, broke out with a goal and two assists for Calgary. Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf each added a goal and an assist for the Flames, who have lost four in a row overall and five straight on the road. Alex Tanguay added a goal.
The Flames trailed 3-1 after a period but scored the next three goals to take the lead for the first time. Columbus tied it 4-4 on Vyborny's power-play goal, his second goal of the game and fourth this season, that came with 7:09 remaining in regulation.
The Blue Jackets came in with just three goals in their last 46 power plays, but scored on their first three chances. The four power-play goals tied a franchise record.
It was only the second time in franchise history that the Blue Jackets converted on three power plays in a period.
Just 22 seconds after Iginla got Calgary even at 1-1, Westcott's shot from the right point slipped through traffic to beat McLennan, who was filling in for Miikka Kiprusoff. It was the 50th point of Westcott's four-year NHL career.
The Flames cut the lead to 3-2 just 19 seconds into the second period when Iginla skated in from the right wing and muscled a shot on Leclaire, with Langkow cleaning up on the long rebound.
Tanguay then scored off a pretty setup from Tony Amonte, who tried a wraparound with the puck sliding through the crease to Tanguay for his third of the season.
Phaneuf's one-timer from the right point made it 4-3.
Notes: The Flames, who had just 15 shots in a 3-2 loss at Detroit on Wednesday night, mustered only five in the opening period but finished with 32. ... LW Rick Nash has gone eight games without a goal for the Blue Jackets. ... Iginla has five goals and three assists in his last six games.