Jackets get franchise-record 60 shots, beat Coyotes in SO
PHOENIX (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets led 13 seconds in and then poured on a flurry of shots — and still needed a late rally and shootout to beat Mike Smith and the Arizona Coyotes.
Columbus pummeled Smith with a franchise-record 60 shots, Alexander Wennberg scored with 2:16 left in the third period and the Blue Jackets beat the Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night.
Boone Jenner put Columbus ahead early off a pass from Jack Johnson, but then Smith stopped 47 consecutive shots until Wennberg’s tying tally.
“I think they have a belief,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “They weren’t playing terribly. Smitty played so well. But we kept working at it.”
Columbus is the first NHL team with 60 shots in a game since Toronto against the New York Islanders on Nov. 23, 2009, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Jackets’ previous high was 54 shots on April 3, 2012 — a 2-0 loss to Smith and the Coyotes.
Smith set a franchise record with 58 saves, but the Coyotes still lost their third straight. He has faced 40 or more shots in four of Arizona’s past eight games.
“Frustration would be a good word, but it’s even more than that right now,” Smith said. “At some point, you’d like to see the team move forward and take the step to be able to win hockey games. But we take one step forward and two steps back. It’s hard to win hockey games like that.”
Cam Atkinson and Sam Gagner scored on Smith in the shootout while Curtis McElhinney stopped both Arizona shooters. Columbus has won three straight.
“The big thing for me is to give them a chance to win the game,” said McElhinney, who made 32 saves and earned his first career overtime win. ”(Smith) was really good, so I had to do it on my end.”
Shane Doan got his 399th career goal and Radim Vrbata also scored for Arizona, which was playing its eighth overtime game in 23 contests.
Doan put Arizona ahead 2-1 at 11:04 of the second when he redirected Michael Stone’s lobbed shot from just inside the blue line along the right boards.
Wennberg tied it at 2 by backhanding the puck between Smith’s pads off a pass from Brandon Saad.
“It was a heck of a pass from Saader,” Wennberg said. “It goes so quickly but the five-hole is my spot right there.”
After failing to take advantage of a two-man advantage late in the first, the Coyotes evened the score on Vrbata’s rising shot off McElhinney’s blocker from the left faceoff circle for a power-play goal 63 seconds into the second period.
Smith helped preserve the lead with 5:30 left in the second, stopping Saad’s breakaway attempt with a sprawling pad save.
In overtime, McElhinney stared down Doan on a 2-on-1 break to make a pad save. Thirty seconds later, Smith covered Wennberg on a breakaway the other direction.
NOTES: Smith’s 58 saves were the most in the NHL this season. ... McElhinney was making his fourth start of the season and first since Nov. 21. ... The Blue Jackets activated LW Matt Calvert from injured reserve on Friday. Calvert, who had missed Columbus’ past five games with an upper-body injury, has two goals and an assist in 17 games this season. ... The Coyotes recalled C Tyler Gaudet from Tucson of the American Hockey League on Friday, giving Arizona 13 forwards on its roster. It’s Gaudet’s second stint with the Coyotes following a one-game appearance in early November.
The teams will complete a home-and-home series Monday night in Columbus.