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Jackets need 5 to defeat Coyotes


Published: Fri, March 10, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Jason Chimera scored the game-winner against Wayne Gretzky's club.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Goals have been hard to come by for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
On Thursday night, five nearly weren't enough.
Rick Nash had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets broke out of a scoring drought in a 5-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Blue Jackets had scored only five goals in four games since the Olympic break.
"We came back around," Nash said. "We really had lots of chances. Maybe we could have had more than five. But we did play strong."
Nikolai Zherdev and former Coyotes Jan Hrdina, Mike Rupp and Jason Chimera also had goals for Columbus. Rupp and Chimera were acquired from Phoenix on Oct. 8 in the deal that sent Geoff Sanderson, the Blue Jackets' career goal leader, to the Coyotes.
Phoenix scorers
Sanderson had a goal for Phoenix, as did Derek Morris, Mike Comrie and Dave Scatchard.
"It would have been nicer to get it in a win," Sanderson said of his homecoming goal. "I don't have a big smile on my face. It didn't mean much -- kind of bittersweet."
Leading 3-2 heading into the third period, the Blue Jackets scored on consecutive shots 28 seconds apart.
Rupp redirected Trevor Letowski's shot to make it 4-2. Before that goal was announced, Chimera netted a rebound of Manny Malhotra's shot from the top of the right circle.
"It was nice to get five goals by five different guys. It's nice to get contributions from everybody," Chimera said.
"We needed all five of them," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said.
Late rally
The Coyotes came back with two late goals -- Comrie jamming one past goaltender Pascal Leclaire and Scatchard pulling Phoenix within a goal on a one-timer with 1:47 remaining. With goaltender Curtis Joseph pulled for an extra attacker, the Coyotes applied pressure for most of the final minute.
"Lucky enough, we held on for the win. We need to hold on a bit more and not let them come back," Nash said.
He opened the scoring after a Phoenix turnover at mid-ice while the Blue Jackets were on a 5-on-3. David Vyborny pounced on a bad pass by Scatchard, then found Nash on the backside of a 2-on-1 rush for his 18th goal.
Columbus went ahead 2-0 in the opening period on another mistake by the Coyotes. Dennis Seidenberg was skating with the puck behind his own net and backhanded a perfect centering pass to Hrdina who easily netted his ninth goal.
Great One's thoughts
"Firing the puck into the slot is not good," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "We didn't play smart and that was the difference."
It was the 100th NHL goal for Hrdina, who has played in 494 games with Pittsburgh, Phoenix, New Jersey and Columbus.
Maybe the Coyotes were trying to figure out who all those new guys were wearing Phoenix jerseys.
In the hours before Thursday's trading deadline, the Coyotes unloaded Dennis Gauthier, Sean O'Donnell, Jamie Lundmark, Tim Jackman and three draft picks for Jamie Rivers, Yanick Lehoux, Oleg Kvasha, Josh Gratton, Joel Perrault and four draft picks. Only Rivers was in uniform against Columbus.
Once the Coyotes got acclimated, they came alive.
"We just waited too long," Sanderson said.
Sanderson scored off a giveaway from Columbus' Rostislav Klesla, beating Leclaire with a hard shot from the high slot for his 20th goal. It was the seventh time Sanderson has scored at least 20 in a season. Sanderson is the Blue Jackets' leading goal scorer with 88 and is second in points with 168.
With Columbus on its seventh power play late in the second period, the Coyotes drew to 3-2. On a 2-on-1 break, Shane Doan fed Morris for his third goal.


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