Photos by Norm Hall
After recording a grueling shootout victory in San Jose just 24 hours earlier, the Phoenix Coyotes made a quick work of the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-1 win on Sunday night at Glendale Arena.
Ladislav Nagy had a goal and two assists and David LeNeveu made 23 saves for his second career NHL win.
"Coming home late last night from a tough game in San Jose, to able to play the way we did, was big for us," said Nagy, who recorded nine points in the last eight games. "Columbus is struggling right now, so to be able to play the way we did tonight was big for us."
Already ahead 1-0 on Mike Johnson's first period tally, Nagy extended the Coyotes lead on a five-on-three advantage midway though the second period when he notched his seventh goal of the season after a shot from the slot deflected off Nagy's skate and trickled past the sprawling Blue Jackets goaltender Marc Denis.
"I feel pretty good on the ice right now and I am getting a lot of power play time," said Nagy. "We were taking a lot of short shifts and to be able to score those first two goals was big for us. We just have to continue to play hard and win games."
The victory moved the Coyotes one game above the .500 mark for the first time this season (11-10-2).
"Over the 23 games that we played, with the exception of maybe two games, I thought that we competed every night," said Gretzky. "We had a tough game last night and played extremely hard.
"When they (Columbus) scored that goal tonight, I thought we responded well and that was one of the things we were trying to address. I was extremely pleased with the result."
Trailing 2-0, the Blue Jackets seemed to be back in the game when Gilbert Brule scored with 1:52 left in the second period. The Coyotes countered just 52 seconds later when Zbynek Michalek ripped a hard shot past Denis to notch his fourth goal of the season.
"That goal was a backbreaker for them," said LeNeveu. "Every time you play a team like Columbus, you have to be at the top of your game, because if you let them stay close, it's going to be a tough game all night. But tonight we were able to grab the lead and put them away."
Boyd Devereaux and Geoff Sanderson also scored for the Coyotes, who out shot the Blue Jackets 33-24 to improve to 6-4-1 on home ice.
SCATCHARD MAKES DEBUT
Newly acquired center Dave Scatchard, who scored in San Jose in his first game with the Coyotes, made his debut tonight at Glendale Arena. Phoenix traded defenseman David Tanabe to Boston in exchange for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Scatchard on Nov. 18. Entering his eighth NHL season, Scatchard has played in 16 games with the Bruins this season, recording four goals, six assists and 28 penalty minutes.
Phoenix center Petr Nedved returned to the Coyotes lineup after missing the last nine games with an elbow injury. Nedved recorded one assists in 15:32 of ice time on Sunday. In 11 games this season, Nedved collected two goals, five assists and eight penalty minutes.
The Blue Jackets roster boasts five players who previously played for the Coyotes. Trevor Letowski, Radoslav Suchy, Jason Chimera, Cale Hulse, Jan Hrdina and Mike Rupp - who's currently playing for the Syracuse Crush, the Blue Jackets' top AHL affiliate - all wore Coyotes jerseys at one time in their careers. This season, the Coyotes traded Hulse, Rupp and Chimera to Columbus on Oct. 8 to acquire Geoff Sanderson.
The Coyotes will return to the ice on Tuesday when they host the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at 7:00 p.m. at Glendale Arena. Tuesday's contest will be a radio only game and can be heard on KDUS-1060 AM, KDKB-93.3 FM or on phoenixcoyotes,com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day section.