– Shane Doan
said there were days early in this season when he was slumping and so out of sorts that he wondered if he would ever score a goal again.
Suddenly, it's hard to find a game when he doesn't light the lamp.
The red-hot Phoenix captain extended his scoring streak to seven games with a goal and an assist, including the game-winner with 8:49 left in regulation as the Coyotes blew a 2-0 lead but regrouped to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets
4-2 Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Doan had one goal in his first 24 games – missing 10 of them to injuries (seven) and a suspension (three) – before scoring Dec. 5 against Minnesota. In the last 13 games, he has nine goals and 19 points including six goals and 12 points in his last five games alone to keep alive a seven-game point streak.
Dead last among Phoenix forwards in goal scoring four weeks ago, Doan now has 10 for the season – one behind Scottie Upshall, who also scored Tuesday, for the team lead.
"It's nice to be able to contribute and it hurts when you aren't," Doan said. "With getting hurt and the suspension, my time on the ice was so sporadic – I only played seven or eight games in two months. I was hoping that the more I played, the better it would get, and it's going pretty good now."
With their two-goal lead gone and the Coyotes struggling, Doan deflected a high Keith Yandle
shot straight down and past Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon to put Phoenix ahead to stay.
"If he can keep up this scoring pace, we'll be fine," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said of Doan. "The thing about players like that is they don't just do it for a couple of days. Doaner has been doing it for a month now … that's the sign of the player he is -- when they sustain that level of play that puts them to an elite status."
Vernon Fiddler added insurance just 52 seconds later, when Adrian Aucoin
's shot hit the post and bounced to his stick for a rebound cleanup. It was Fiddler's first goal in 22 games and the only goal he's scored other than a Nov. 12 hat trick against Calgary.
and Jakub Voracek scored for Columbus, who haven't scored more than two goals in their last 11 meetings with Phoenix and have lost eight times.
"It's tough. You battle back to 2-2 and you feel like you have the momentum," Umberger said. "We felt like we were on the cusp of getting that third goal and taking over, then they get a redirect goal (by Doan) and we didn't respond."
The Coyotes had lost two straight but moved past wild the Blue Jackets in a Western Conference where just four points currently separates fourth place San Jose and 13th place Columbus. Phoenix will try to climb higher against one of those teams, the Avalanche, in Colorado Thursday.
"Every game is a huge two points because we're neck and neck with so many teams including these guys," Fiddler said. "You can't hang your head over a loss because losing another one can put you in a real hole. After they scored the goal (to make it 2-2) everyone on the bench was talking about keeping our heads up and keep going at them. We did and we had couple of big plays and found a way to win."
Upshall and Sami Lepisto scored 2:53 apart in the second period to give the Coyotes a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead. Upshall, who had gone without a point in 10 straight games in December, is also on a tear with seven points (3-4-7) during a four-game scoring streak. Lepisto scored his third goal of the year and just his fourth in 106 career NHL games.
But Columbus responded. Umberger finished a power move to the net by poking his own rebound past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to get Columbus on the board and extend his own goal-scoring streak to four games. Umberger has six goals in his last seven games and 14 for the season.
Columbus tied the game in the third period when Upshall took a selfish slashing penalty behind the play and the Blue Jackets cashed in. Vorcek finished a Derick Brassard
feed on the power play and the Coyotes had to win the game all over again.
"We came out flat in the first but we came back from a 2-0 (deficit) and they score a lucky goal," Brassard said. "Sometimes you don't get those lucky bounces, and we didn't get it."
Phoenix lost center Kyle Turris
to an upper-body injury in the second period and he did not return. The Blue Jackets also lost a forward when Ethan Moreau left the game in the first period with an apparent upper-body injury.
All three members of the Coyotes line extended scoring streaks on Upshall's goal. Doan extended his points streak to seven (6-6-12) with an assist and Belanger, who had two assists, has at last one in each of the last three games. Keith Yandle
, who led all NHL defensemen in assists with 14, extended his assist streak to five straight games and has seven in all over that span.