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Jackets sloppy in loss to Phoenix

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After a pair of solid performances against division foes, the Blue Jackets traveled to the American southwest only to be bitten by the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 5-1 Wednesday evening.

The contest marked Phoenix’s first victory of the season. For Columbus, Wednesday marked its first regulation loss as the Blue Jackets go to 1-1-1.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a pair of shootouts and cross-country travel. The Jackets looked a bit jet lagged entering Jobing.com Arena.

After Columbus got off to a 1-0 start in the second period, the Coyotes responded with five unanswered goals to soundly defeat the Blue Jackets. Columbus’ lone goal came from defender Fedor Tyutn 5:30 into the second period on a slap shot that beat Coyotes backup goalie Jason LaBarbera. Tyutin remains the team leader in points at four.

The Coyotes were significantly shorthanded. LaBarbera had to step in for his season debut during the first period as starting goalie Mike Smith left the game with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes were without a host of former Jackets who were either suspended or injured. Defender Rusty Klesla and forward Ray Whitney were out with injuries. Raffi Torres is still serving a suspension he suffered last season.

Columbus goalie Steve Mason made his season debut and showed some rust and the inefficient play that has plagued him over the last three seasons. He allowed five goals on 42 shots against in a losing effort.

Though Mason struggled, the squad in front of him did not do much better. Columbus was outshot 42-26 by Phoenix, only won 36 percent of its faceoffs, constantly turned the puck over, and lacked quality scoring chances. For a squad that has a mantra of not being outworked, Wednesday’s game did not live up to that standard.

Steve Sullivan had his second career hat trick against the Blue Jackets. He scored a huge goal less than two minutes after Tyutin’s goal to get Phoenix on the board. From there, it was all Phoenix.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the eventual game-winner 15:22 into the second to give Phoenix a 2-1 advantage. Despite being outplayed in the first two periods, Columbus had a realistic chance of doing what it had done in its prior two games, overcoming a deficit. But Wednesday’s contest would go in the opposite direction as the Blue Jackets’ prior two games.

Sullivan scored two in the first 10 minutes of the third to notch the hat trick. Ekman-Larsson scored with 4:58 remaining to seal the game.

Sergei Bobrovsky will likely get the nod tomorrow in Colorado for his third appearance of the season.

Notes: Mark Letestu made his season debut. Derek MacKenzie sat out for the first time this year. Columbus made a number of changes to its top lines. Derek Dorsett joined R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard. Cam Atkinson replaced Dorsett on a line with Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky.

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