A sparse crowd of 10,539 at Jobing.com Arena witnessed the Phoenix Coyotes' special teams and offense conspire to a 2-0 loss to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. Both Columbus goals were the after effects of Coyotes penalties.
“We didn't play well enough,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippet said. “We didn't execute well enough. We didn't compete hard enough. We made some mistakes and the two goals they got were on the power play.”
The loss marred the rebound of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. On Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers Smith was pulled from the game after he surrendered three first period goals. Against Columbus he stopped 29 of 31 shots in a losing effort.
“Personally I felt like I needed to come in tonight and rebound and for the most part I did that,” Smith said. “But it's about winning games. It's not about personal achievement. I felt good but (I'm) disappointed with the outcome.”
Unfortunately for Smith he was penalized in the second period and the Blue Jackets capitalized on the mistake.
Playing in his first game of the season, due to recovering from off season shoulder surgery, Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton scored at 15:51 in the second period to make it a 1-0 game.
Horton's goal was all the offense that Columbus would need. Blue Jackets' goalie Curtis McElhinney made 34-saves for his second shutout of the season.
“I thought we had some opportunities obviously but like I said their goalie played great,” Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said. “He made key saves for them. Sometime you run into a hot goalie. A guy who's going to steal a game, he did that tonight.”
Midway through the third period Columbus center RJ Umberger added a power play goal to make it 2-0 and effectively shut down any thoughts of a Phoenix come back.
“It was one of those games where it's all about execution and we didn't execute like we needed to and it cost us the game,” Smith said.
The loss dropped the Coyotes season tally to 20-11-9 and the Blue Jackets improved to 18-19-4.
Phoenix gets Friday off the recuperate and regroup before hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, January 4. The puck is scheduled to drop at 6 p.m. (MT)