For the second consecutive game, the Phoenix Coyotes found themselves shut out after the first period. But for the second consecutive game, the Coyotes played well when it mattered, and it translated to two points for the Desert Dogs, taking a 4-3 victory from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
Similar to Monday's win over the St. Louis Blues, the Coyotes came out sputtering against the Blue Jackets. After Jared Boll leveled Lee Stempniak behind the Phoenix net, Boll planted himself in front of Ilya Bryzgalov and re-directed the puck in to start the scoring just three minutes in. Not three minutes later, Rostislav Klesla slapped one past Bryz for his third of the year.
The Coyotes found an early advantage on the power play in the second, but were unable to convert. That power play turned into a 4-on-4 following a Martin Hanzal hooking call. Almost as soon as the 4-on-4 ended, sending the Yotes on the kill, Lauri Korpikoski started a rush with Vernon Fiddler, with Fiddler netting the shorthanded goal to bring the Coyotes within one.
That goal would start a quickly flurry from both sides, with all three goals in the second frame coming within a 90 second span.
Kristian Huselius netted a power play goal in its waning seconds to put the Blue Jackets back up by two, by a 3-1 count. Not 30 seconds later, Eric Belanger answered to bring Phoenix back within one.
The Coyotes would manage just six shots in the third, but they made them count. Radim Vrbata scored just as Klesla penalty ended, less than a minute into the third to even the game at three.
The Coyotes' luckiest break of the night came on Derek Morris' goal midway through the third. Morris ripped a shot from the blue line, which was initially stopped and deflected in the air by Mathieu Garon. The shot went straight up, then landed on Garon and trickled down his back and into the net. That goal would prove to be the game winner.
The return of Ilya Bryzgalov could not be overstated for Phoenix. In his first action since January 4th, also against Columbus, Bryzgalov stopped 37 of 40 shots, including 28 of the last 29 he faced.
Don't look now, but the Coyotes have won four of five as we turn into the second half of the season. Their only loss in the last five was that 2-1 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres. They'll look to stay sharp when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, at Jobing.com Arena.