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Connor Ingram’s 39-save performance propels Coyotes to 3-2 victory over Blue Jackets

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Thanks to a stellar performance by goaltender Connor Ingram, the Arizona Coyotes (8-6-2) were able to win 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets (4-9-4) inside Nationwide Arena on Nov. 16.

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After a hard-fought battle previously, the Coyotes were able to earn a point following a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Dallas Stars on Nov. 14 last time out.

Before the game, it was announced that Coyotes defenseman Michael Kesselring entered their lineup.

Due to taking a shot to the face against Dallas, Arizona defenseman Juuso Välimäki was not available, and therefore, Kesselring would make his 2023-24 NHL season debut.

Meanwhile, Columbus were on a six-game losing streak and 1-7-3 in their last 11.

Understanding that the Blue Jackets were desperate to end their skid, the Coyotes had to defend the speed that Columbus possesses.

First Period

To begin the game, the Blue Jackets came out flying.

In the first-five minutes, Ingram faced seven shots and turned them all aside.

As soon as they got the puck out of their zone and into Columbus’, there was a three-minute span from the 14th-minute mark where the ‘Yotes returned the favor.

Holding the momentum, Arizona poured six attempts on Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzļikins.

While it seemed like an inevitable goal was coming due to the Coyotes’ constant offensive pressure, there was nothing to show for it.

Columbus would produce a late push, but ‘Yotes defenseman J.J. Moser made two crucial blocks to keep the game scoreless.

At the end of the period, the Blue Jackets outshot Arizona 17-9.

Additionally, the Coyotes didn’t register a shot for the remaining 8:55 of the first period.

Second Period

Continuing from what they did in the first, Columbus fired more pucks on net and were eventually rewarded.

From the point, Blue Jackets defenseman Damon Severson wired a 93 mile-per-hour slap-shot to the top-left corner of the goal to score and make it 1-0 Columbus.

Then, following a power-play, Arizona answered back after a fortunate bounce in front of Merzļikins.

Kesselring ripped a shot towards the net, hit Columbus defenseman Jake Bean’s skate and right to Coyotes center Barrett Hayton’s stick before tying the game 1-1 6:40 into the middle period.

With the frame progressing, another freakish accident happened to a ‘Yote, but this time was from friendly-fire.

Like Välimäki, Arizona left wing Matias Maccelli took a puck to the face.

At the top of the left face-off circle, Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad’s snapshot hit Maccelli before Maccelli rushed right to the locker-room.

Additionally, after scoring the first goal for Arizona, Hayton mysteriously went off the ice and also didn’t return either.

The second period ended and the Coyotes had to continue without two of their more important players.

Third Period

Down two guys, it was going to be interesting as to how the ‘Yotes would come out for the third period.

Ingram would make multiple stops to keep the score tied early on.

Then, Arizona found a breakthrough, and then some.

On the power-play, Coyotes rookie Logan Cooley whipped a snapshot past Merzļikins’ glove to give Arizona their first advantage of the contest, 2-1.

0:28 later, Bjugstad would win a foot race to the puck behind the Columbus goal.

Quickly, Bjugstad passed the puck to ‘Yotes left wing Lawson Crouse in front of the net before Crouse beat Merzļikins and extended the lead to 3-1.

In frustration, Merzļikins snapped his stick in half after giving up two goals in a short timespan.

Towards the end of the game, Columbus would pull Merzlikins for a 6-on-5 opportunity with an empty-net.

At that point, the Blue Jackets fired everything they had left in the tank at Ingram.

Eventually, Severson sent a wrist-shot past Ingram’s blocker for his second of the game to minimize Columbus’ deficit to 3-2 with 1:57 remaining in regulation.

However, that was the only goal that went past Ingram for the remainder of the game as the Coyotes won 3-2.

Postgame Notes

Despite losing both Maccelli and Hayton to separate injuries, the Coyotes found a way to get through levels of adversity and pull out a win.

Remarkably, the Coyotes blocked a season-high of 27 shots, including six by defenseman Sean Durzi alone.

Making 39 saves on 41 shots, Ingram was practically a brick wall tonight for Arizona.

Additionally, Ingram became the third goaltender in Coyotes history in the past 10 years to have a five-game winning streak since Darcy Kuemper did in 2018-19 and Antti Rantta in 2017-18.

On the other hand, Merzļikins stopped 29 of 32 attempts by the ‘Yotes.

Arizona also outhit Columbus, 13-8.

With this victory, the Coyotes move into fourth place in the Central Division as they are now 8-6-2 on the year and have 18 points in the standings.

To conclude a five-game roadtrip, the ‘Yotes face the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Center on Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. MST.

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Alec Cipollini is the lead reporter of the Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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