Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Daniel Carcillo- (C) Steven Reinprecht - (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Derek Morris
BLUE JACKETS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Fredrik Modin - (C) Sergei Fedorov - (RW) Nikolai Zherdev
(D) Ole-Kristian Tollefsen - (D) Rostislav Klesla
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Columbus - Brian Boucher
On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes comeback bid fell short as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Coyotes' rookie Daniel Carcillo, who was playing in his first NHL game, nearly recorded his first assist on the opening shift of the game as he made a nice pass from the corner onto the stick of forward Bill Thomas in the slot. But Thomas' shot just missed the net, ending Carcillo's early bid for an NHL point.
Columbus would grab the first lead of the game at the 2:37 mark of the first when David Vyborny dumped a pass to the front of the Coyotes net where Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash was able to slide the puck under goaltender Curtis Joseph for a 1-0 lead.
Phoenix would have a chance to even the score at 7:39 of the period when Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla was called for roughing, resulting in the first power play of the game. Unfortunately, the Coyotes were unable to generate the offense needed to tie the game and the Blue Jackets stayed ahead by one.
As the period continued the Blue Jackets poured a load of shots at the Phoenix net, but Joseph was able to hold his ground and keep the Coyotes within striking distance.
The Coyotes would return to the power play at 15:49 of the first when Klesla made his second trip to the box, this time to serve a two-minute minor for tripping. This time the Coyotes would make the most of the extra attacker as captain Shane Doan tapped the puck in from the right side of the net for his 22nd goal of the season.
The final minutes of the first would expire with neither club being able to grab the lead heading into the first intermission.
Just 35-seconds into the second period, the Coyotes received their third power play of the game when Vyborny was assessed an interference penalty. The Coyotes power play success would continue as defenseman Keith Ballard took the puck from his own end, carried it through the neutral zone and over the blue line where he released a wrist shot that just sailed by Blue Jackets netminder Brian Boucher and into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Phoenix would only hold the lead for less than seven minutes as former Coyote Jason Chimera evened the score at 2-2 at 8:36 of the second. On the play, Chimera took a pass from Manny Malhotra along the left hand boards, raced in on Joseph and lifted a backhand into the top of the net for his 13th goal of the year.
With six and-a-half minutes to play in the stanza, the Coyotes man-advantage would return to the ice due to a hooking penalty on defenseman Bryan Berard. With the extra attacker, the Coyotes were able to dump shot after shot on the Columbus net, but Boucher was able to keep an unobstructed view of the puck and as a result, keep it from entering the net.
Late in the period, the Coyotes found themselves in a bit of penalty trouble as Steven Reinprecht and Derek Morris both incurred holding penalties in the final two minutes of the period. The Blue Jacket would get to spend the final 47-seconds of the frame with a five-on-three advantage, however, a huge blocked shot by Keith Ballard, a pair of stops by Joseph and a shot off the side of the net by Rick Nash kept the game tied heading into the third period.
The Blue Jackets began the final period still working with the man-advantage and 27-seconds into the third; they capitalized when forward Fredrik Modin lifted a backhand over a fallen Joseph for his 16th goal of the season, giving Columbus a 3-2 lead.
Columbus extended their lead to 4-2 at 5:29 of the third when Rick Nash snapped a laser of a wrist shot from the left side of the slot and beat Joseph high to the glove side for his 21st tally of the year and second of the night.
Just two minutes later, the Coyotes came roaring back and cut the deficit to one goal when forward Jeff Taffe tapped a puck in the Columbus crease, past Boucher for his first goal of the season.
At 8:24 of the third, the Phoenix penalty-killing unit would be called into action when Sjostrom was called for holding. The Blue Jackets tried desperately to regain the two-goal lead as they threw a series of shots at the net and tried to create havoc by loading the crease with bodies. But somehow, Joseph was able to overcome all those obstacles and focus on the shots, allowing him to keep the puck out of the net and return the Coyotes to full strength.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes comeback bid fell short as the final minutes of the third period slipped off the clock as Phoenix fell to the Blue Jackets by the final score of 4-3.