Right winger Cam Atkinson celebrated his return from a broken foot by scoring the game-winning goal with 3:03 remaining as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
Atkinson, who missed 11 games after taking a shot from teammate Seth Jones off his right foot, took a pass through the crease from center Alexander Wennberg and jammed it past goalie Antti Raanta into the right side of the net.
“I thought I was progressing and getting better as the game went on,” Atkinson said. “I thought our line for the most part was seeing some chances, and I was finally able to bury.”
Sergei Bobrovsky, who shut out the Coyotes 1-0 on Dec. 9 in Columbus, made 38 saves to help the Blue Jackets defeat Arizona for the sixth straight time. Wennberg also had a power-play goal to go with his assist on the game-winner.
Raanta had 25 saves for Arizona, which saw its two-game winning streak end. Left winger Brendan Perlini scored his 14th goal of the season and fourth in four games for the Coyotes.
Wennberg broke a scoreless tie at 79 seconds into the third period with his fifth goal of the season, deflecting a slap shot by Jones from the slot.
Perlini tied it with a power-play goal at 7:39 with a wrist shot from his knees into the right side of the net during a goal-mouth scramble. Columbus challenged for goaltender interference as several bodies fell into the crease, but the goal stood.
That set the stage for Atkinson’s game-winner. Atkinson finished with four shots, three hits, two blocks and a takeaway in 19:09 of ice time.
With the victory, Columbus heads into the All-Star break in second place in the Metropolitan Division, six points behind the Washington Capitals. Arizona owns the lowest points total in the NHL.
--Field Level Media