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Karlsson's two goals lead Blue Jackets past Coyotes

by Craig Merz /

COLUMBUS -- Coach John Tortorella said there would be opportunities for players to step up in the wake of the elbow injury that will keep center Brandon Dubinsky out of the Columbus Blue Jackets' lineup for the next 2-3 weeks.

On Saturday, that player was second-year center William Karlsson, who scored his first two goals of the season in a 5-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes that gave the Blue Jackets (6-12-0) their first victory in seven home games.

"My first two goals of the season, I'm just relieved," Karlsson said. "We wanted this one so badly. Now we know we can win here. The curse is gone."

Karlsson, 22, was acquired on March 2 in the trade that sent defenseman James Wisniewski to the Anaheim Ducks. He had three goals in 37 previous NHL games but looked like a natural goal-scorer against Arizona.

"We had a great effort," captain Nick Foligno said. "The guys battled for each other. Timely goals. Great plays. That's what the fans want to see. We found our legs again and we found our identity. Maybe that wasn't the case early on."

Karlsson put Columbus ahead 4-2 with 9:18 left in the third period by pouncing on the rebound of Cam Atkinson's shot for his second of the game. Brandon Saad added some insurance for Columbus with 4:42 remaining, scoring his seventh of the season. Boone Jenner got his second assist of the game to go along with a goal.

Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist for Columbus, winners of two straight. Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves.

The Blue Jackets ended the Coyotes' three-game winning streak and finally heard cheers from the fans at Nationwide Arena.

"It was really cool to hear them chant 'CBJ,' " Johansen said. "To me that shows they're not going anywhere and they're waiting to see if we can get the job done. It's a slow process and there's still a long way to go."

Rookie Anthony Duclair had a goal and an assist and Oliver Ekman-Larsson extended his point streak to a career-high five games for the Coyotes (9-7-1), who fell behind 2-0 in the first period. Arizona has allowed the first goal in five straight games.

"We talked about getting off to better starts, but it was the same story again tonight," forward Max Domi said.

Domi was involved in a fracas late in the second period that led to Jenner scoring the Blue Jackets' second power-play goal of the game. Jenner put the Blue Jackets ahead to stay with 3:46 remaining when he redirected a Johansen shot past goaltender Mike Smith for his team-high ninth goal.

"We got ourselves back in the game," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought we dominated the second period but ended up in the penalty box. They got a deflection from the side and we didn't push enough in the third.

"I don't understand how we ended up shorthanded and we couldn't kill the penalty. That was a big turning point. A team that played last night that goes into the third period with the lead can hang on and play hard."

With 18 seconds left in the second period, Arizona captain Shane Doan was given a game misconduct after several players engaged near the Columbus bench. Doan played his 1,411th NHL game to tie Harry Howell for 30th place on the NHL's all-time games played list.

"It's his [referee's] prerogative. He's the ref," Doan said. "I have to respect it. I disagree with it. In 20 years I've never seen it. I never swore. I never said anything like that."

Goals by Karlsson and Johansen gave the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead 5:13 into the game. Duclair scored his seventh of the season at 12:09 of the first period and Ekman-Larsson tied it at 5:49 of the second.

The Blue Jackets had energy in the third period despite playing Friday at the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game they won 2-1.

"[Bobrovsky] gave us a chance," Tortorella said. "We were certainly flat for certain portions of the game but I thought in the third period we were much better.

"The way we want to play is physical, simple and I think we got back to that."

Prior to the game, there was a moment of silence to honor the victims of the attacks in Paris on Friday.

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