Coyotes 5, Blue Jackets 3
Power-play goals seem as rare as a desert snowstorm for the Phoenix Coyotes.
They finally got one when they really needed it Saturday night.
Martin Hanzal's power-play score on one of Keith Yandle's three assists broke a third-period tie and the Coyotes went on to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Hanzal added an empty-net goal and an assist in Phoenix's third victory in four games.
The Coyotes had gone 17 power plays without scoring before Hanzal ended the drought.
Radim Vrbata scored for Phoenix before leaving the game in the second period with a lower body injury. David Moss and Kyle Chipchura also scored for the Coyotes.
Jared Boll, Matt Calvert and Derek MacKenzie scored for Columbus, which has lost five of six.
Steve Sullivan set up the winning goal with a precise, long pass to Yandle, who sent a crossing feed to Hanzal in front of the net. Hanzal's first point-blank attempt bounced off goalie Steve Mason, but he scored on his next whack at it to put Phoenix up for good.
''It was a great play by Yands. He pretty much found me wide open,'' Hanzal said. ''I just shot at the post and got my own rebound. I think that's what we've got to do, get more in front and get more shots at the net. That's what we've been practicing pretty much all season.''
Coach Dave Tippett said that his team just kept putting on the pressure with the power plays.
''Everybody thinks it's a power play, you should just automatically go out there and score,'' he said, ''and that's not the case. It's hard to score. You've just got to stay with it. `'
With the empty-netter, Hanzal has seven goals this season. Yandle's three assists tied a career best.
''We saw tonight the power play come up huge,'' Hanzal said. ''You don't have to score every time you're on it, but if you create enough chances, you can find a big goal and we were able to do that.''
Mason had 34 saves. Mike Smith had 20 for the Coyotes.
Columbus coach Todd Richards said his team just ''ran out of gas'' playing one night after a tough 2-1 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles.
''We couldn't get anything going in the offensive zone,'' he said. ''Guys were tired. Lines were all jumbled because I'm just looking down the bench trying to find someone who's not breathing hard.''
Phoenix, a 5-1 winner over Columbus in the teams' first meeting earlier this season, led 3-2 after a frenetic first period.
Columbus was playing one night after a tough 2-1 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles and took a quick 1-0 lead when Boll's shot deflected off Hanzal's skate and into the net just 2:09 into the game.
Then came a flurry of three goals in a span of 2 1/2 minutes.
First, Mason deflected Mikkel Boedker's shot, but the hard-charging Moss slammed the rebound into the net to tie it at 1-1 5:30 into the game. Ninety seconds later, Vrbata's shot found the net just inside the right post and Phoenix led 2-1.
That lead lasted just one minute when Calvert's goal tied it 2-2 with 12 minutes still to go in the period.
Chipchura's first goal of the season on a terrific pass from Yandle put Phoenix up 3-2 with 2:20 to go in the first.
MacKenzie's left wrister zipped to the left of Smith for a goal that tied it at 3-3 with 14:44 remaining in the second period. It was MacKenzie's second goal of the season.
Phoenix had two more power-play opportunities in the second period, including 29 seconds with a 5-on-3 advantage, and couldn't score.
Shortly after the Blue Jackets killed the penalties, the Coyotes' Shane Doan had a shot clang off the left post very late in the second period, leaving the game tied 3-3 after two.
NOTES: It was the second stop on a six-game road trip for the Blue Jackets. ... Columbus had three penalty kills in the first period and six in the game. ... Phoenix scored on two of its first three shots. ... Doan needs a goal to tie Phoenix franchise record of 323 career goals.