Coyotes hoping to show more spark in rematch with Blue Jackets

NHL

Coming off just their second victory of the season, and with a slightly better outlook for the road ahead, the Arizona Coyotes can truly hit the reset button with a home matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Arizona was at Columbus to start the season last month and the result was a glimpse into what was to come for the Coyotes. After the Blue Jackets rolled to the 8-2 victory, the Coyotes went on to lose 11 consecutive games to open the schedule.

They are slightly improved since, going 2-3-0, and will enter off a promising 3-2 road victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Barrett Hayton scored his first two goals of the season against the Blues, including the game-winner on the power play with 6:08 remaining.

It was only the 12th time in NHL history a team needed 16 games to record two victories, but the rebuilding Coyotes aren’t looking at the futility aspect of it all.

“We played with a sense of urgency, we played with focus,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. “The guys made a few adjustments and paid attention to detail.”

Arizona goalie Scott Wedgewood, acquired off waivers from the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 4, had 34 saves and is 2-1-0 in three starts since his arrival. He not only was in goal to end the team’s 11-game losing streak to start the season, he was also with the Coyotes in 2017-18 and was in goal to end Arizona’s 11-game losing streak to start that season as well.

“It’s been tough, there’s been some frustration,” Wedgewood said. “I hope I’ve given the guys a little bit of spark. This was a gutsy win.”

The Blue Jackets also will enter off a victory, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 at home on Monday. The win came after Columbus lost consecutive games the first time this season. Those consecutive defeats came at home no less.

The Blue Jackets rallied for Monday’s victory with three goals in the final 4:18. Yegor Chinakhov tied it on his first NHL goal at 15:42 of the final period, while Zach Werenski scored the go-ahead goal three minutes later.

It was the fifth time already this season the Blue Jackets have rallied from a third-period deficit to take the lead.

“I think we’ve come back quite a few times this year already in the third period,” Werenski said. “For us, it’s just that belief in our room. If you play the right way, you’re going to find ways to win. That’s what we’ve been doing.”

Defenseman Adam Boqvist also scored a goal for Columbus, his first since arriving in an offseason trade from the Chicago Blackhawks. Boqvist was making his return after missing the previous seven games because of a lower-body injury.

“You saw the puck play from Bo, what he can do, his poise and (how he) plays under pressure,” Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen said. “He gets a huge goal.”

–Field Level Media

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