Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Hanzal comes up big in third period for Coyotes

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes would like Martin Hanzal's formidable frame to make matters difficult for opposing goalies.

At 6 feet 6, 235 pounds, Hanzal addressed that assignment Saturday night when he positioned himself in front of Columbus goaltender Stave Mason during a critical third-period power play. Hanzal found himself in perfect position to drop in a loose puck for the go-ahead goal in the Coyotes' 5-3 win over the Blue Jackets before 15,425 in Jobing.com Arena.

Hanzal's sixth goal of the season came on the power play with the Jackets' Fedor Tyutin off for interference at 8:18 of the third period. It broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Coyotes their third win in their last four games.

Taking a pass from defenseman Keith Yandle in the crease, Hanzal jammed the puck in behind Mason for the winner.

"These are the games you have to win if we are going to make the playoffs," Hanzal said. "Yes, this was a big two points for us and I liked the way we bounced back (after losing 3-0 in Nashville on Thursday night)."

Hanzal added an empty-net goal at 18:56 of the third period. His third-period goals came after an explosive first period, but the teams settled down in a more cautious style during the final 40 minutes,

A lack of defense from both teams characterized the opening minutes. As a result, the Coyotes and Jackets combined for four games in less than six minutes.

After the Jackets' Jared Boll picked up his first of the season to push Columbus into a 1-0 advantage, the Coyotes responded with two goals within 1:30.

First, Dave Moss scored his second of the season on a rebound at 5:30 and then Radim Vrbata fired a wrist shot under the crossbar to give Phoenix a brief lead at 7:00.

A 16-foot wrist shot from the left faceooff circle by the Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert at 8:00 tied the scored at 2.

Kyle Chipchura convered a centering pass from Yandle for his first goal of the season at 17:40 to push the Coyotes into 3-2 lead.

The Jackets knotted the score when Derek McKenzie's wrist shot from the slot eluded goalie Mike Smith. For McKenzie, it was his second goal of the season and only his third point.

"Good return for us in the third period," said Moss, who scored for the first time since the second game of the season. "We managed to score there on the power play for the winner and special teams can win or lose games.

"We would prefer not to score five goals to win a game, but know if we have to do that, we have the capability."

Playing their second game in as many nights, the Jackets seemed to slow down during the third period. That lack of energy did not escape Columbus coach Todd Richards.

"We ran out of gas and it doesn't help when you have to kill seven penalties," he said. "I thought our guys were tired and we had no bounce. We can't give their guys that many opportunities."

Though the Coyotes capitalized on their final power-play chance, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett acknowledged the importance of special teams play. The Coyotes finished 1 of 7 with the man advantage.

"On the power play, you have just keep working," Tippett said. "It's so hard to score and you have to stay with it. We have ideas what we want to do and when you can win games with power-play goals, that's a bonus."

NOTES: Despite being named the Jackets' general manager earlier this week, Jarmo Kekalainen has yet to see Columbus play in person, As the first European GM in NHL history, Kekalainen remains in his native Finland and unable to obtain a travel visa. Because Monday is a legal holiday, the earliest Kekalainen can obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. is next Tuesday or Wednesday. Columbus will next play in Anaheim on Monday and then in Detroit on Thursday, likely the first chance for Kekalainen to see the Jackets. ... Columbus entered the game as the worst road team in the NHL. In its previous five games away from Nationwide Arena, the Jackets had two points. ... Picking up a first-period assist, Yandle reached 150 in his NHL career. Yandle later tied a career mark with three assists in the game. ... Assisting on a first-period goal, Phoenix center Antoine Vermette picked up his first point in his last eight games. ... With 322 career goals, Phoenix captain Shane Doan remains one goal from tying Keith Tkachuk (323) for second on the franchise's career goals list behind Dale Hawerchuk (379).
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (2)