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Horton, Blue Jackets blank Coyotes
Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) – Nathan Horton lit the lamp in his long-
awaited Blue Jackets debut and Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots for his
second shutout of the season as Columbus clipped the Phoenix Coyotes, 2-0, on
Thursday at Jobing.com Arena.
Columbus signed Horton to a seven-year, $37.1 million contract in July, but
the 28-year-old forward underwent shoulder surgery not long after inking the
deal, causing him to miss the Blue Jackets’ first 40 games this season.
R.J. Umberger registered Columbus’ other goal, while McElhinney turned aside a
whopping 21 shots in the final frame to help the Blue Jackets hang on for
their fourth victory in six tries.
Mike Smith allowed both goals on 31 shots for the Coyotes, who had a six-game
point streak halted.
Horton broke the scoreless deadlock late in the second period after Smith was
whistled for delay of game at the 14:55 mark of the stanza.
With Columbus skating on the man-advantage, James Wisniewski one-timed a blast
from the left circle that Smith padded away, but Horton was there on the
doorstep to pound home the rebound for a 1-0 lead at 15:51.
Umberger doubled the spread with another power-play marker near the midpoint
of the third, as he picked up a rebound in between the circles and buried the
puck into the back of the net to make it 2-0 at 10:03.
Phoenix peppered McElhinney with shot after shot throughout the final frame,
but the 30-year netminder turned aside all comers to keep Columbus in front
and secure his fourth career shutout.
The last meeting between these teams also ended in a Columbus victory via
shutout, as Sergei Bobrovsky posted 39 saves to blank Phoenix on March 16 of
last season … Horton, Bobrovsky and Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout were all
activated from injured reserve earlier Thursday … Phoenix went 2-0-4 during
its six-game point streak, with all six games going past regulation …
Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson suffered an upper-body injury in the
first period and did not return … Columbus went 2-for-4 on the power play,
while Phoenix finished 0-for-5 on the man advantage.