Calvert's Big Night Hands Coyotes Second Consecutive Loss

Phoenix loses again, and their hot streak has quickly run cold.

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Calvert's Hat Trick Dooms Coyotes In Loss To Blue Jackets

It seems for every step forward the Coyotes take, they take another step back. A team that has shown a hard time regrouping after  loss this season did it again on Friday night, following up their 8-3 blowout loss in Tampa Bay with a disappointing 5-3 result in Columbus.

The loss comes despite the Coyotes scoring the game's first two goals. David Schlemko scored right out of the gate for Phoenix, while Radim Vrbata continued his torrid run with a goal of his own to make it 2-0.

From there, the Columbus power play unit took over. 

After giving up a trio of goals while skating a man down against the Lightning on Wednesday, the Coyotes were once again let down by their penalty kill unit, surrendering three more on Friday night.

The Blue Jackets used the power play to climb back into it after being down two early. RJ Umberger and Jakub Voracek each netted power play goals in the first to take a 2-2 draw into the first intermission.

From there it was the Matt Calvert show. Calvert, who already had an assist in the first, added his own goal on the power play, running Columbus' total with the man advantage to three. He also scored the next to Blue Jacket goals following that one, for his first career hat trick.

The rookie from Brandon, Manitoba would prove to be too much for the Coyotes to handle. His two goals in the second, and one in the third, would prove to be too much for Phoenix to handle. Not even Lauri Korpikoski's late third period goal could help Phoenix in this one.

While the loss doesn't change anything for Phoenix, it sets them back from the division-leading San Jose Sharks, who now sit three points ahead of the Coyotes for third place in the Western Conference.

Now in fourth place, the Coyotes are just three points ahead of the fifth place Los Angeles Kings, and are just five points from standing on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture. Such is the story of the Western Conference this season.

The Coyotes will look to turn it around quickly, when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, to cap their road trip.


Coyotes Look To Rebound From Blowout In Columbus Against Blue Jackets

After the embarrassment that was Wednesday night's loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Phoenix Coyotes will look to get back on track when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Friday marks the fourth part of a five-game road trip, with the Yotes going 2-1 to this point. They had won eight straight prior to their 8-3 loss in Tampa.

There's no question that Ilya Bryzgalov will be back between the pipes for Phoenix on Friday. Bryz had started 19 in a row prior to Wednesday, when Dave Tippett handed the reigns over to Jason LaBarbera. LaBarbera imploded, surrendering all eight goals in the loss.

Columbus will have a top notch goaltender of their own in the crease when the Coyotes visit them, in Steve Mason. Mason has won six of seven starts, with two shutouts over that span, while allowing just one goal in another two.

Ray Whitney is a possibility to return to the lineup after missing the last two games for Phoenix with a lower-body injury. He will be a gametime decision for Phoenix. Adrian Aucoin is also questionable, having not played since Saturday.

One player who will certainly be out for the Coyotes is Scottie Upshall, who is still serving a suspension for a hit he laid on Oskars Bartulius against the Philadelphia Flyers. Friday is the second part of his two-game suspension for the hit that ended Bartulius' season.

After their loss on Wednesday, the Coyotes slid down to fourth in the Western Conference, but still lead everyone else by at least five points. The Blue Jackets have begun a climb into contention, sitting just a few points back of eighth place.

With a win and a loss by the San Jose Sharks, Phoenix will move back into third. While a loss won't hurt them terribly at this point, it could begin to set them back into a race with the rest of the other nine teams competing in the West.

As always, you can follow along with Five For Howling, following the 5 p.m. puck drop, Phoenix time.

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