Coyotes score twice in 3rd to extend Blue Jackets’ skid

The Arizona Coyotes maintained their trend of alternating wins and losses as Lawson Crouse scored the winning goal 10:07 into the third period to push the visitors past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Thursday night.

The Blue Jackets took their seventh straight loss (0-5-2).

Arizona took control through most of the final frame. Logan Cooley gave Arizona a 2-1 lead on the power play 9:39 into the third before Crouse padded their lead as he quickly released the puck from one knee in the low slot, beating Elvis Merzlikins off a behind-the-net pass from Nick Bjugstad for his seventh goal of the season.

The Blue Jackets pressured late, pulling Merzlikins for the extra skater with over three minutes remaining in the game, allowing them to push toward Damon Severson’s second goal of the night 18:03 into the third period. Yet, that would be as close as they came despite a 29-save night from Merzlikins.

The Coyotes’ power play continued to click, scoring for the seventh straight game, and eighth game of their last nine while scoring once on two-man advantage opportunities in Thursday’s contest. Columbus failed to score on three power-play chances.

While the game fell into the visitors’ favor through the late stages, the opening two periods proved a tight matchup, with both teams scoring in the second period after a scoreless first.

Severson opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets early in the second period as he dragged the puck to the top of the right faceoff circle before firing a slapshot past Connor Ingram for the first advantage.

Yet, the Blue Jackets couldn’t hold the Coyotes to another scoreless frame, with Barrett Hayton netting an equalizer at 6:20 into the period, scoring a rebound from the top of the crease after Merzlikins pushed aside a slapshot Michael Kesselring.

The Coyotes blocked 27 shots on the evening while Ingram pushed aside 39 of 41 shots. Now, the Coyotes will hope for some consistency, having not linked wins since the fourth and fifth games of the season on Oct. 19 and Oct. 21.