Late goal sinks Coyotes in loss to Blue Jackets

Jan 25, 2018, 10:34 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2018, 9:27 am
Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) scores against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti ...
Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) scores against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Blue Jackets won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes failed to extend their point streak to six games on Thursday night when they lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, at Gila River Arena. That doesn’t mean they enter the All-Star break on a low note.

The Coyotes (12-29-9) got just one goal off their 39 shots against goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

“We dominated the third, had a lot of chances. Bobrovsky’s obviously one of the top goalies in the league,” Tocchet said, adding that his team made a coverage mistake to allow a late Columbus goal in the third period that made it 2-1.

Facing a two-time Vezina Trophy winner wasn’t the only reason for the Coyotes’ loss. As forward Brendan Perlini said, every goaltender in the NHL is good and each one has a weakness, but Arizona’s competitiveness in recent games and its performance on Thursday in particular had some remaining bullish about where the team is headed.

“That was 50, 57 minutes and they got one chance at the end there and they scored,” Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta said following his 25-save outing. “If you look big picture, I think we have been playing really good hockey and really played a 60-minute game.

“There hasn’t been too many breakdowns and if there has been, somebody has been saving the team. It’s a good thing — I think we can still be better, but we’re on the right track right now.”

Thursday night’s game was scoreless through two periods, though the Coyotes led in shots, 25-20 at the start of the final period.

In the third, Columbus (27-19-3) finally got the game’s first goal on a power play when defenseman Seth Jones took a hard shot from the blue line that Alexander Wennberg deflected, making it 1-0 at 1:19.

The Coyotes tied the game 1-1 on their own man advantage at 7:39. Perlini had a loose puck slide to his stick to the left of Bobrovsky. He fired it into an open net. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but the goal stood.

With 3:03 left to play, Cam Atkinson put home a centering pass from Wennberg to make it 2-1.

Arizona couldn’t score with its goalie pulled, and dropped its last game before a six-day All-Star break.

“You’ve got to be happy with most of the guys’ efforts and a team effort,” Tocchet said. “The one thing is that, and it’s on me to figure it out, with three or four minutes left, we’ve got to be able to win these games. We can’t lose those games in those moments.

“That’s the frustrating part. They didn’t have anything until then. It was just a bad coverage.”

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