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Phoenix
Coyotes
31-46-5
Columbus
Blue Jackets
33-42-7

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Coyotes-Blue Jackets Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Associated Press

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Coyotes-Blue Jackets Preview
Phoenix Coyotes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets got off to a dismal start last season when leading scorer Rick Nash was out with ankle and knee injuries.

This season, Nash is healthy and off to a strong start, and he looks to keep the Blue Jackets on their fast start Monday when they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Nationwide Arena.

Nash became the youngest player to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy as a 19-year-old in 2003-04, when he had 41 goals.

He missed all but three of Columbus' first 31 games last season, though, as the Blue Jackets (1-0-1) got off to a 9-22-0 start. The left wing rebounded to score a team-high 31 goals in just 54 games as Columbus went 26-24-4 in those games.

Nash, the top overall draft pick in 2002, got his first two goals of this season in Saturday's 5-4 victory over Chicago.

After falling behind 2-0 just over seven minutes into the game, the Blue Jackets scored five straight goals, including three in a 2:44 span of the second period.

"A couple of years ago were could have gotten down by two goals, just gone home and kind of shut it down," said Nash, who had two goals and three assists in three games against the Coyotes (1-1) last season.

"But with our new team now, we're not getting down and just kind of keep on going. We were lucky enough that things turned our way."

Jaroslav Balastik, Manny Malhotra and Duvie Westcott also scored on Saturday as the Blue Jackets went 3-for-8 on the power play.

Last season, Columbus was tied for the second-worst power play in the league at 14.2 percent (77-for-451), but it has converted 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) chances with the man advantage in its first two games.

Goaltender Pascal Leclaire stopped 18 shots against the Blackhawks after stopping 41 of 44 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss Friday in the season opener to Vancouver.

"We played very solid," said Leclaire, who is 1-2 with a 3.70 goals-against average lifetime against Phoenix. "When you give up only about 20 shots, you're playing well defensively."

The Blue Jackets went 2-2 against the Coyotes last season.

Phoenix is playing its road opener as part of a four-game road trip after splitting its first two games at home.

Last season, the Coyotes lost their first three road games and finished last October 2-6 away from Glendale Arena. They finished last season with 39 points on the road, going 19-21-1.

"Its always nice to get a win in your first road game," said Shane Doan, who had two goals and two assists in four games against Columbus last season. "It would be a real nice start to the season."

Phoenix lost to Anaheim 2-1 on Saturday despite outshooting the Ducks 35-25. Zbynek Michalek scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who have outshot opponents 79-59 in their first two games.

"We need to work on a few things," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "Some of our transitioning wasn't as good tonight, some of our passing wasn't as crisp."

Goalie Curtis Joseph has saved 54 of 59 shots in his first two starts, and is 5-2 with a 2.87 GAA lifetime versus Columbus.

Left wing Ladislav Nagy, who had two goals in the season opener, has five goals and seven assists in a six-game points streak against the Blue Jackets.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 03 '07 CBJ 4 at PHX 3 R. Nash
Feb 06 '07 PHX 3 at CBJ 0 S. Reinprecht
Dec 14 '06 CBJ 4 at PHX 5 - SO M. Comrie
Oct 09 '06 PHX 1 at CBJ 5 R. Nash
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