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Blue Jackets 5, Coyotes 4 @NHLdotcom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Goals have been hard to come by for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

On Thursday night, five nearly weren't enough.

Rick Nash had a goal and an assist, and the Blue Jackets broke out of a scoring drought in a 5-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Blue Jackets had scored only five goals in four games since the Olympic break.

"We came back around," Nash said. "We really had lots of chances. Maybe we could have had more than five. But we did play strong."

Nikolai Zherdev and former Coyotes Jan Hrdina, Mike Rupp and Jason Chimera also had goals for Columbus. Rupp and Chimera were acquired from Phoenix on Oct. 8 in the deal that sent Geoff Sanderson, the Blue Jackets' career goal leader, to the Coyotes.

Sanderson had a goal for Phoenix, as did Derek Morris, Mike Comrie and Dave Scatchard.

"It would have been nicer to get it in a win," Sanderson said of his homecoming goal. "I don't have a big smile on my face. It didn't mean much - kind of bittersweet."

Leading 3-2 heading into the third period, the Blue Jackets scored twice in 28 seconds on consecutive shots.

Rupp redirected Trevor Letowski's shot to make it 4-2. Before that goal was announced, Chimera netted a rebound of Manny Malhotra's shot from the top of the right circle.

"It was nice to get five goals by five different guys," Chimera said. "It's nice to get contributions from everybody."

The Coyotes then came back with two late goals - Comrie scoring on a jam shot and Scatchard pulling Phoenix within a goal on a one-timer with 1:47 remaining. With goaltender Curtis Joseph pulled for an extra attacker, the Coyotes applied pressure for most of the final minute.

"We just waited too long," Sanderson said.

Nash added, "Lucky enough, we held on for the win. We need to hold on a bit more and not let them come back."

He opened the scoring after a Phoenix turnover at mid-ice while the Blue Jackets were on a 5-on-3. David Vyborny pounced on a bad pass by Scatchard, then found Nash on the backside of a 2-on-1 rush for his 18th goal.

Columbus went ahead 2-0 in the opening period on another mistake by the Coyotes. Dennis Seidenberg was skating with the puck behind his own net and backhanded a perfect centering pass to Hrdina who easily netted his ninth goal.

"Firing the puck into the slot is not good," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We didn't play smart and that was the difference."

It was the 100th NHL goal for Hrdina, who has played in 494 games with Pittsburgh, Phoenix, New Jersey and Columbus.

Maybe the Coyotes were trying to figure out who all those new guys were wearing Phoenix jerseys. In the hours before Thursday's trading deadline, the Coyotes unloaded Dennis Gauthier, Sean O'Donnell, Jamie Lundmark, Tim Jackman and three draft picks for Jamie Rivers, Yanick Lehoux, Oleg Kvasha, Josh Gratton, Joel Perrault and four draft picks. Only Rivers was in uniform against Columbus.

Once the Coyotes got acclimated, they came alive.

Sanderson scored off a giveaway from Columbus' Rostislav Klesla, beating goaltender Pascal Leclaire with a hard shot from the high slot for his 20th goal. It was the seventh time Sanderson has scored at least 20 in a season. Sanderson is the Blue Jackets' leading goal scorer with 88 and is second in points with 168.

With Columbus on its seventh power play late in the second period, the Coyotes drew to 3-2. On a 2-on-1 break, Shane Doan fed Morris for his third goal.

The Coyotes put lots of pressure on the Blue Jackets near the end but failed to get the tying goal.

"We needed all five of them," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said.

Notes: Columbus had not scored five goals since a 7-4 victory over Los Angeles on Feb. 8. ... Joseph has given up at least five goals in four of six starts.

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