Final

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Sunday, November 20th
Blue Jackets1Final
Coyotes5
Game 2: Sunday, January 8th
Blue Jackets5Final
Coyotes2
Game 3: Thursday, March 9th
Coyotes4Final
Blue Jackets5
Game 4: Tuesday, March 21st
Coyotes5Final
Blue Jackets2

Coyotes 5

(32-33-4, 68 pts)

Blue Jackets 2

(26-40-3, 55 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 21, 2006

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
PHX 1 2 25
CBJ 2 0 02

S. Doan (Coyotes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

S. Reinprecht (Coyotes - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

N. Zherdev (Blue Jackets - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Blue Jackets give up five straight goals, fall to Coyotes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Phoenix Coyotes gave Curtis Joseph way more offense than the NHL's sixth-winningest goalie needed.

Shane Doan and Steve Reinprecht each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who scored five unanswered goals to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Joseph made 31 saves for his 423rd victory, tying him with Tony Esposito on the NHL's career list.

"He's been outstanding for us," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He's a tremendous professional and again tonight he was outstanding."

Joseph said he liked the way his team came back and lifted him into good company.

"Any time you're mentioned in the same breath as Tony Esposito, for whatever reason, it's a great honor," Joseph said. "He's one of my idols. He's one of the greatest of all-time."

Mike Johnson, Fredrik Sjostrom and Mike Comrie also scored for Phoenix, which has won two straight for the first time in two months and three of four overall. Jamie Rivers added two assists.

Adam Foote and Sergei Fedorov scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost five straight.

After Columbus jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, Phoenix rallied. The rush started with Johnson's goal with seven seconds left in the opening period.

"We didn't have a very good first period to say the least," Gretzky said. "Then Johnson's goal was a big goal. That was a big sort of turning point for us in the hockey game to be able to come in after the first period only down 2-1."

With the clock ticking down, Johnson snapped a hard-angle shot from the left dot that crept past goaltender Pascal Leclaire for his 14th goal.

"That was huge," Doan said. "Johnny's one of those guys that you really cheer for because he does so much for us every night."

The Coyotes carried the momentum into the second period -- and at times made it look as if they were on a power play while skating at even strength.

"We have to do the little things that change the momentum of games," Foote said.

Phoenix evened the score at 6:12 when Doan circled around the Columbus net, fended off defenseman Rostislav Klesla and passed to Reinprecht, who cleanly beat Leclaire for his 15th of the season.

"I was just trailing the play," Reinprecht said. "I saw Doaner taking it wide. I just came down the slot and it was sitting there for me."

Two minutes later, Jody Shelley and Fedorov took penalties to give the Coyotes a two-man advantage. Doan scored with a blast from the high-left circle to give Phoenix a 3-2 lead at 9:59.

"When we play as a team with five men, we're solid," Doan said. "It's when we get trying to do individual stuff that we really struggle."

In the third period, Sjostrom jammed home a loose puck through traffic in the crease to make it 4-2 at 4:02.

Comrie added an empty-net goal to a chorus of boos from the home crowd.

"They [the fans] are disappointed," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. "I am disappointed and our players are disappointed."

Foote started the scoring with a shot from between the hash marks at 7:29 of the first period. Fedorov, who missed the last two games with a sore back, scored three minutes later.

Game notes


The NHL and the Blue Jackets announced Tuesday that Columbus won its bid to host the 2007 NHL draft. ... Phoenix finished its season-high five-game road trip with a 3-2 record. ... The Blue Jackets are 4-for-28 on the power play during their losing streak. ... Coyotes left winger Geoff Sanderson, acquired from Columbus early in the season, had an assist and has 16 points in his last 14 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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