Published January 11, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Derek Morris' slap shot with 9:16 left went in off goalie Mathieu Garon's back, giving the Phoenix Coyotes a 4-3 victory over the slumping Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
The Coyotes, who trailed 2-0 and 3-1, also got goals from Radim Vrbata, Vernon Fiddler and Eric Belanger. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 37 shots.
The loss was the fifth in a row for the Blue Jackets, who got goals from Jared Boll, Rostislav Klesla and Kristian Huselius. Fedor Tyutin had two assists and Garon made 24 saves.
Down 3-2 heading into the third, Phoenix tied it on Vrbata's goal off a nifty setup from Ray Whitney.
The Coyotes improved to 4-12-3 when trailing through two periods. Columbus was 11-0 with a lead and 20 minutes left.
On the decisive goal, Garon used his blocker to deflect Morris' hard shot from the point just as Martin Hanzal provided traffic in front. The puck glanced up and over Garon's head, landed on his jersey number and trickled into the net.
Columbus had plenty of chances to pull even.
Phoenix successfully killed two lengthy two-man disadvantages in the third period, including one for most of the final 2 minutes when the Coyotes had two men in the penalty box and the Blue Jackets pulled Garon for an extra attacker.
Vrbata tied the game in the opening minute of the third period. In a picture-perfect display of tic-tac-toe passing, Shane Doan passed to Hanzal who fed Whitney. Whitney then fed Vrbata near the hash marks for the equalizer on a one-timer.
The Blue Jackets took their first two-goal lead of the new year in the opening 6 minutes — thanks to two unlikely goal scorers.
Boll picked up his fourth of the season just 2:56 in, redirecting a shot from the right point by Marc Methot. Boll had leveled Lee Stempniak behind the net and then skirmished briefly with Paul Bissonnette and Sami Lepisto an instant before dropping his stick into the line of fire on Methot's drive.
Klesla then collected his third off a one-timer from the right wing. Derick Brassard had carried the puck to the high slot against Bryzgalov. Two passes later, Klesla's hard shot beat the goalie high on the stick side.
Three goals came in a span of 1:27 of the second period, with the Coyotes pulling to 3-2.
As Columbus' Derek Dorsett came out of the penalty box after serving 2 minutes for a high stick, Phoenix was on a rush. Fiddler benefited from a perfect saucer pass from Lauri Korpikosky for an easy jam shot for the goal at the 2:14 mark.
Exactly a minute later, the Blue Jackets went up 3-1 on Huselius' wrist shot from the right dot.
And just 27 seconds later, Doan got two whacks at the puck at the left doorstep before Belanger cleaned up for his fifth of the season.
The Blue Jackets, next to last in the NHL on the power play, failed to score with 50 seconds of 5 on 3 early in the third period.
NOTES: D Michal Rozsival, acquired Monday by the Coyotes from the Rangers for F Wojtek Wolski, was scratched. ... D Grant Clitsome, called up Sunday when the Blue Jackets sent veteran D Mike Commodore to Springfield (AHL), made his season debut. ... Fiddler has had only two goals since Nov. 12 — and both have come against Columbus. ... The Coyotes were 0 for 4 on the power play and are 0 for 23 over the last nine games.