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Finally! Lucky bounces, a few breaks lead Jackets past ‘Yotes

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Emil Bemstrom scored his first NHL goal on the power play and Joonas Korpisalo stifled two breakaway opportunities as Blue Jackets beat Coyotes.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Nothing like starting off a game with a goal.

Seriously, the goal-starved Blue Jackets actually did just that Thursday from the desert.

Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves and Emil Bemstrom scored his first career goal as the Jackets edged the Coyotes 3-2 Thursday night from Glendale, Arizona.

The fun got started just 14 seconds into the opening period as Gustav Nyquist delivered his third goal of the season off a face-off win to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead over the Coyotes. It was actually a perfectly-placed tip from a Seth Jones shot near the point. Oliver Bjorkstrand also assisted.

Later in the period, the Coyotes tied the game at the 11:24 mark when Carl Soderberg buried a rebound past Joonas Korpisalo.

The play developed along the boards as Christian Fischer drew in two Blue Jackets, and while falling, still got the puck behind him to Lawson Crouse. As you can see below, Crouse unleashed a slapper from the left side of Korpisalo, forming the juicy rebound for Soderberg to bang it home for the 1-1 equalizer. Ilya Lyubushkin assisted.

Arizona outshot Columbus 16-9 in the first period.

Columbus started off the second period with a power play, failing to generate anything. But then they spent the next several shifts in the Coyotes zone, pushing the play and passing the puck around, the Coyotes clearly visibly on their heels. It was basically the type of play you think of a good power play producing.

The Jackets had the first eight shots of the second period as Arizona went more than half the period without a shot on goal. So naturally their first shot on goal was the goal that put them ahead 2-1.

Speed through center ice was the culprit and Jakob Chychrun hit paydirt as Michael Grabner and Vinnie Hinostroza also tallied points on the play.

One of the best plays of the game goes to Korpisalo on his sterling save on a breakaway chance by Grabner. He actually did the same thing on Grabner later in the third period.

If it happens on the west coast and you go to bed and miss it, does a Blue Jackets power play goal still count?

Who cares. Because it happened and it did so it does.

It was the third power play chance of the game for the Blue Jackets when who else? but Bemstrom getting it done, his first goal of his NHL career. And what a time to get that first goal done with the man-advantage. Nyquist also picked up his second assist as part of a three point night and Cam Atkinson grabbed a point.

I marvel at that type of shot below the goal line, and just kinda dipsy-doodling it over Darcy Kuemper (30 saves on the night). Like woah.

The Jackets finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play.

We’ve been hearing how close the Blue Jackets are and how they need to finish. Sometimes it really is simply throwing the puck at the net and getting the lucky bounces and this go-ahead goal by Columbus was just that.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his fourth of the year, with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Gustav Nyquist adding assists. It’s Bjorkstrand’s first multi-point game of the season. Nyquist started the play at the other end and Dubois brought it up ice with speed. It bounced off and whiffed through the opposition as it landed on the good guys’ stick for a 3-2 lead!

That play above proved to be the game-winner as the Jackets move to 8-1-0 over their last nine games against the Coyotes, and have now won five straight in Arizona. The team will have a day off before taking on the Avalanche Saturday night at 9:00 pm est.

Additional Notes

Alexandre Texier (13:02, two shots) slotted back into the lineup for the Blue Jackets after missing the last four games with a knee injury. Texier took a puck off the face late in the third, blood clearly visible. Markus Nutivaara missed the game with an upper-body injury suffered Tuesday against the Golden Knights, which allowed for Scott Harrington to pair with Dean Kukan on the third pairing. Nutivaara did not travel, and Ryan Murray (broken hand) did make the trip. Zach Werenski took a puck deflection to the throat but stayed in. Seth Jones took a shot in front of the net off the thigh but also stayed in the game. The Blue Jackets penalty kill solved all three Coyotes power play opportunities. Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Gustav Nyquist each led the team with four shots. Derek Stepan led the game with five shots. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Phil Kessel each had four shots. Werenski played a team-high 24:01. Alex Goligoski led the game (27:02). Columbus is 5-0-0 when scoring first.