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Coyotes close out disappointing swing vs. Blue Jackets

Feb 3, 2015 - 3:51 PM ( - The Arizona Coyotes will try to put a positive spin on what has been a dismal road trip when they complete the swing Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Coyotes have won twice on an eight-game trek, with both victories coming over the previous three stops on the club's longest trip of the season. In between those two victories in Toronto and Montreal, however, Arizona suffered a 7-2 setback in Ottawa on Saturday.

Arizona, which is ahead of only Edmonton in the Western Conference standings, is 9-14-3 on the road this season after going 2-3-2 in the first seven games of this swing.

The Coyotes won for just the second time in 10 games overall when it rebounded from the blowout loss to the Senators with Sunday's 3-2 win at Montreal. Arizona halted the Canadiens' five-game winning streak behind a resilient performance from goaltender Louis Domingue, who picked up the win in his first NHL start.

Domingue, a Quebec native, shook off a poor start to help the Coyotes pick up a surprising win over the Canadiens. After allowing two goals in the first five minutes, Domingue finished with 18 saves to earn the victory. It was the second NHL appearance for the 22-year-old, who came on in relief of Mike Smith in Saturday's lopsided loss to Ottawa.

"I was told last night I'd be playing getting into the hotel," said Domingue. "I had at least 30 people here, and others were watching on television.

"I'm really lucky to play my first game here in Montreal."

Lauri Korpikoski scored two goals, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also lit the lamp for the Coyotes.

Smith will start tonight as Arizona tries to win consecutive games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Dec. 23-29. He is 5-4-2 with a 2.29 goals against average in 13 career games against Columbus.

Columbus is hoping to avoid a third straight loss tonight when it begins a brief two-game homestand.

The Blue Jackets, who also host St. Louis on Friday, failed to pick up a point on its recent two-game tour of Florida. Columbus fell 3-2 against the Panthers on Thursday before dropping a 3-1 decision Saturday in Tampa.

Ryan Johansen had the only marker for the Blue Jackets on Saturday, while Curtis McElhinney allowed all three goals on 34 shots in defeat.

"We had our chances," Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray said. "I thought that we had a good effort. Just a few shifts in third there where we got hemmed in our own end and it cost us."

McElhinney, who is serving as the club's No. 1 goaltending option while Sergei Bobrovsky is sidelined with a groin injury, fell to 5-8-1 on the season. Bobrovsky has missed three games since going down to injury on Jan. 21 and isn't expected to be back until later this month at the earliest.

Anton Forsberg expects to get the call over McElhinney tonight and has never faced the Coyotes.

Arizona can sweep the season series from the Blue Jackets tonight after taking the first of two encounters on Jan. 3 in the desert. The Coyotes won that contest 6-3 behind Martin Hanzal's four-point night (1 goal, 3 assists). Hanzal, however, will miss a third straight game tonight due to an upper-body injury.

The Coyotes halted a three-game slide in the series with the win on Jan. 3, but the Jackets will aim for a sixth straight home win over Arizona tonight.