NHL Game Summary - Phoenix at Columbus
(Monday, October 9th)
Final Score: Columbus 5, Phoenix 1
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Nikolai Zherdev scored twice and Pascal Leclaire stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced as the Columbus Blue Jackets cruised past the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-1, at Nationwide Arena.
Rick Nash, Anson Carter and Duvie Westcott all scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won two straight. David Vyborny added three assists in the victory, while Nash and Westcott each had two.
Zherdev, who had 27 goals and 27 assists last season for the Blue Jackets, played made his season debut Monday. He had visa difficulties in Russia, but ironed out the problems.
"It's nice to see him come back and start some chemistry," Nash said of Zherdev. "He has some great legs, and he still is in good shape. It's nice to have him here."
Ed Jovanovski netted the lone goal for the Coyotes, who went 0-for-9 on the power play. Mike Morrison made 24 saves in defeat.
"It was a mismatch tonight, they embarrassed us," Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky said. "They played better than we did and we deserve to lose, simple as that."
Columbus took an early 1-0 lead when Nash's power-play slap shot bounced off Morrison's stick, but Zherdev followed up with a backhand shot that deflected off Morrison's glove and found the net 1:01 into the first period.
Jovanovski's wrist shot from the right circle at the 9:21 mark with an assist from Shane Doan tied the game for Phoenix, but Columbus scored four unanswered goals between the second and third periods to cap the win.
The Blue Jackets went up 2-1 on the power play when Nash tipped in the puck in front of Morrison after a pass from Vyborny from the right side 11:08 into the second.
Less than two minutes later, Zherdev chipped in the puck on Morrison's glove side after an assist from Nash near the left circle to give Columbus a two-goal advantage.
"I think he was really excited," Columbus head coach Gerard Gallant said of Zherdev. "Before the game he was smiling a lot. He was really excited to be playing with his teammates again."
Carter's backhand shot, which hit off of Jovanovski's stick in front of the net, added to Columbus' lead 1:27 into the third. Manny Malhotra and Westcott provided assists.
The Blue Jackets took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play when Westcott's wrist shot sailed over the left shoulder of Morrison to put Columbus up 5-1 at the 10:26 mark in the third.
Columbus improved to 7-10-4 all-time against Phoenix. The clubs split four meetings last season...Phoenix will travel to play Detroit on Wednesday...Columbus visits Minnesota on Saturday...Columbus was 3-for-12 with the man advantage.
10/10 01:32:40 ET