GLENDALE, Ariz. - Rick Nash's late penalty nearly cost the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he made up for it less than a minute later.
Nash scored a highlight-reel goal with 21.5 seconds left to lift the Blue Jackets to their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
Nash took a long outlet pass from Michael Peca just outside the Phoenix blue-line and outmanoeuvred defencemen Keith Ballard and Derek Morris before faking Mikael Tellqvist to the ice and firing into the open left side of the net.
"It just seemed like the puck was on a string," Nash said. "I made a couple of dekes and the puck just stayed with me. Pecs made a nice pass up and it was a 1-on-2. We had three guys back, so I figured I might as well try something."
Martin Hanzal had scored a power-play goal on a rebound 77 seconds earlier to tie the game 3-3. Nash had been whistled for high-sticking when he caught Morris in the face with his stick.
"I should have better control of my stick," said Nash. "I felt pretty bad after they scored with 1:20 left."
Nash finished with two goals and an assist, Rostislav Klesla and Nikolai Zherdev also scored, and Sergei Fedorov and Michael Peca each had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who passed idle St. Louis for second place in the Central Division.
"We were ahead the whole game and probably deserved to win with our attitude the whole game," Klesla said.
Peter Mueller had a goal and assist, and Shane Doan also scored for the Coyotes, who have lost three of five.
"They outplayed us. They outworked us. Everything that we have done in the past two to three months, they did to us tonight," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "So for us to even tie it up, we were lucky and fortunate. Points are too important and imperative at this point in time in the season. It was a really difficult loss to handle."
Columbus had several scoring chances during a 5-on-3 power play in the first period but could not get the puck away from the posts. Fedorov fired one shot off the right post, and 17 seconds later Nash bounced a puck off Tellqvist's glove and the right post. One minute later, Nash's shot from the right circle slid between Tellqvist's skates and off the left post.
Less than 30 seconds after Nash's last miss, Doan came out of the penalty box and received an outlet pass from Daniel Winnick to begin a 3-on-1 break. Doan faked a pass toward the middle of the ice before slipping the puck between Fredrik Norrena's pads for his 15th goal.
"(Tellqvist) was absolutely phenomenal in the first period," Doan said. "They should have been up on us three or four goals in the first and he was just incredible."
The Blue Jackets finally got on the board at 9:54 of the second period when Nash took a pass from Fedorov and skated down the right side before swooping between the circles for the shot on Tellqvist, tying it 1-1.
Klesla gave the Blue Jackets the lead at 18:43 of the period, beating Tellqvist from the top of the left circle for his sixth goal and 100th career point.
Mueller made it 2-2 when he one-timed a pass from Ed Jovanovski past Norrena for a power-play goal with 15:02 to play.
Zherdev put Columbus back ahead 3-2 when he scored on a wraparound with 11:34 left.
"(Nash) and Zherdev had two world-class, third-period goals," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Our two best players did what we needed them to do. They scored goals."
Notes: Hanzal's goal came seconds after Tellqvist had been pulled in favour of an extra attacker. ... Columbus had been 1-10-1 when trailing after one period. ... Klesla has 34 goals and 66 assists in 375 career games. ... Doan has a nine-game scoring streak during which he has six goals and eight assists. ... Nash took his 1,000th career shot during the first period. ... Mueller's 11 goals are tied for second among rookies.