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.