GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) _ Daymond Langkow thought the Phoenix Coyotes had to
open a five-game homestand with a win to retain any hope of making the
playoffs. He held up his end.
``We never gave up,'' Langkow said after netting the game-winning goal with
19 seconds to play in a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
``We kept battling and came back and won.''
The Coyotes rallied from a two-goal deficit, pulling into a tie on Paul
Mara's power-play goal with 3:18 remaining.
Then Langkow turned a rebound of his own shot to his forehand and wristed
the puck just under the crossbar. The goal, coupled with a 3-2 win over Dallas
in their last home game, gave the Coyotes their first winning streak in the new
``It was big,'' said Shane Doan, who helped on Mara's goal. ``Really big.
We've got to find ways to win games down the stretch, no matter how they
Jeff Taffe had a goal and an assist, and rookie Jean-Marc Pelletier earned
his initial NHL victory by making 26 saves.
Pelletier, recalled on Feb. 10, had a shutout loss in his only start with
Philadelphia in 1998-99. He was 0-2 _ including a 2-0 loss to Columbus _ with
the Coyotes last season after they acquired him and a draft pick from Carolina
in December 2001.
``I'm really happy to get my first win for this organization, and I have
only my teammates to thank,'' Pelletier said. ``My goaltender coach Benoit
Allaire, I work so hard for him. It's so nice to see the hard work pay off.''
The Blue Jackets, who had a 2-0 lead after goals by Trevor Letowski and
Jaroslav Spacek, started an even more inexperienced goalie.
Pascal Leclaire made 28 saves in his NHL debut, but was victimized by the
Coyotes' late pressure.
``It's frustrating when any team comes back on you,'' Leclaire said. ``I
know, though, that I can play in that league. Now I just have to make the big
Phoenix failed to get a shot off in three previous power plays in the third
period, but capitalized when Scott Lachance was penalized for hooking with 4:38
Mara, low in the left circle, angled a rebound of Mike Comrie's shot behind
Leclaire 1:20 later.
Back at even strength, the Coyotes stormed the Columbus end, and Langkow got
the puck on a pass from Taffe from behind the net. His first shot bounced off
Leclaire, but the second went in to extend the Blue Jackets' winless streak on
the road to nine games (0-6-3).
``I was kind of just throwing it out there hoping one of those two (Langkow
or Fredrik Sjostrom) was in front,'' Taffe said. ``I mean, hoping for a good
bounce or something. Langs made a great shot, the guy made a great save on him,
and he just kind of stayed with it.''
Columbus interim coach Gerard Gallant thought his team deserved better.
``It's definitely disheartening when you kill three of them off and then you
get a fourth penalty in a row in the third period when you're winning 2-1,''
Pelletier had nine saves in the first period, three during two Blue Jackets
power plays that included 1:01 of five-on-three. He made one highlight-reel
stop when he blocked a shot by Todd Marchant on a breakaway and then gloved the
puck in the air.
Seconds after that, Leclaire turned away shots by Jan Hrdina and Langkow.
The Blue Jackets stepped up the pace in the second period, scoring twice on
Letowski got the first goal after Phoenix defenseman Radoslav Suchy stopped
his shot with a skate, but kicked the puck back to Letowski. He put a wrist
shot past Pelletier.
Columbus made it 2-0 on Spacek's slap shot five seconds after the Coyotes
killed another five-on-three power play.
Phoenix responded when Taffe batted an airborne puck in off Leclaire's right
arm with 2:41 left in the second period.
``Do we feel lucky to win a game?'' Coyotes coach Bob Francis said. ``Yeah,
but when it came down to crunch time, the kids won it for us.''