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Jackets Return Home Lose To The Coyotes

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Curtis Joseph made 28 saves for his 50th career shutout as the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 on a snowy Wednesday night that delayed the start of the game.

Steve Reinprecht, Shane Doan and Mike Zigomanis scored for Phoenix, which had lost three of its last four overall, but have won nine of their last 12 road games.

The Blue Jackets were shut out for the 12th time, setting a franchise season record. They have lost three straight since a four-game winning streak.

Originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EST, the game was delayed 35 minutes because the Coyotes were stuck in traffic traveling from their team hotel while a severe snow storm blanketed Greater Columbus. The game started with the arena less than half full and many left early.

Both teams entered fighting just to stay in the Western Conference playoff race before the regular-season stretch run even starts. Phoenix came in 12 points out of the eighth and final spot, while Columbus started the day 15 points off the pace.

Phoenix weathered the nerve-racking drive, and a flurry of early first-period shots by Columbus before opening the scoring at 15:17.

Soon after a huge melee at center ice between the team benches that resulted in two fights and three roughing minors, the Coyotes settled in four-on-four. Reinprecht scored with a redirection off a point shot through traffic by Ed Jovanovski.

Phoenix scored two more goals during the second period while winning nearly every loose puck. Columbus fans booed their team, which had promised to work hard to climb the standings during a stretch of eight of 10 games at home, where the Blue Jackets are now 10-4-1 since Ken Hitchcock was named coach.

A slick individual effort by Doan made it 2-0 at 6:03 on his 18th of the season. Doan stole the puck from Manny Malhotra at center ice, curled toward the Columbus blue line and fired a slap shot under the arm of Fredrik Norrena, who missed the last three games with a groin injury.

After again clogging neutral ice, the Coyotes countered this time with Georges Laraque passing to Zigomanis, who got behind Alexander Svitov to score his ninth at 11:06.

Game notes
The Blue Jackets are on a six-game homestand, their longest in franchise history. ... The Coyotes finished 0-for-5 on the power play and are 3-for-41 in their last nine games. ... Columbus RW Nikolai Zherdev missed his third game in the last five fighting flu-like symptoms.

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