The Columbus Blue Jackets followed one lousy road performance with another with a 4-2 defeat to the Phoenix Coyotes in Jobing.com Arena Tuesday evening. Columbus has lost back-to-back road games and nine of its last 10 dating back to Nov. 24.
“I think tonight, we did a good job and deserve better,” Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard said. “I thought we were all over them and they came out flat in the first. We came back from (a Phoenix) 2-0 lead and they scored a lucky goal.”
The Blue Jackets slip to 12thplace in the Western Conference and are slowly falling out of any playoff race for this season. The road trip does not get any easier. The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings await the Blue Jackets this weekend.
“Every team is fighting for a playoff spot still,” Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger said. “That is the story of the Western Conference and it is going to be a good challenge going into these next two games. We want to salvage the road trip and to make it worthwhile, we need to get points.”
Following a scoreless first period, the Coyotes got out to a 2-0 second period lead. Scottie Upshall gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead 6:40 into the second as his glove side shot beat the glove of Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon. Sami Lepisto scored 2:57 later on Garon’s glove side.
Columbus rallied with a goal 11:57 into the second from Umberger. Umberger stuffed his own rebound through the five hole of Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Blue Jackets added a power-play goal 7:51 into the third from Jakub Voracek to tie the game at two. Columbus went 50 percent on the power play only getting two opportunities.
“I really like how we hung in the game,” Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. “You have to play the 60 minutes. I was more upset down to one (to nothing) and stopped playing there and made it two. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Game on, right? Wrong.
In a one minute span, the Coyotes were able to go from a tied game to delivering the knockout punch. Shane Doan gave the Coyotes a 3-2 lead 11:11 into the third. Vernon Fiddler gave the Coyotes a 4-2 lead 52 seconds later.
“It is tough, you battle back to 2-2 and feel like you have momentum most of the game and then they get a redirect goal,” Umberger said. “We got the big power-play goal and feel like we were on the cusp of getting that third one and taking over the lead in the game.”
Columbus’ scoring chances came few and far between in the final eight minutes against Phoenix.
Third-line forward Ethan Moreau only skated for seven shifts in the first period and went out with a rib injury which Arniel said he was pretty sore.