Fischer nets hat trick to lift Coyotes over Blue Jackets 4-1
By MITCH STACY
Stepan set up the 21-year-old Fischer on goals in all three periods Tuesday night as Arizona rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. Stepan's huge role wasn't lost on Fischer, who picked up his first hat trick in his 94th NHL game. He'd never ever had a two-goal game before.
"I think I owe Derek a nice dinner and bottle of wine or something," he said.
"It's the first time we played together this year and a guy like that, he's really smart. He knows the ins and outs of this game," Fischer said. "I know if I get open and create space for him, he's either going to take a shot or pass the puck, whatever is the right play."
Darcy Kuemper, subbing for ill starter Antti Raanta, stopped 35 shots to get his first win in two starts this season, and Dylan Strome also scored to help the Coyotes beat the Blue Jackets for the first time in seven tries dating back to February 2015. Arizona has won two of its last three overall.
Pierre Luc-Dubois scored and Sergei Bobrovsky had 22 saves in what was mostly a lackluster game for the Blue Jackets, even though they had 10 more shots on goal.
Dubois got credit for a goal 31 seconds into the game when he shot wide, then skated in to knock the puck out from behind the net. It ricocheted off Clayton Keller's skate and trickled in as Kuemper leaned the other way.
It was one of the few mistakes the Arizona goalie made.
"It was just an unfortunate bounce, a terrible start for us, but what can you do?" Kuemper said. "You just have to stick with it."
Fischer tied it 7:08 in with a one-timer . Strome made it 2-1 later in the first when he tipped in a shot from just outside the blue paint on a power play.
"We didn't like our first (period)," Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. "We're up 2-1, but we didn't like our first - which is a good sign - then we grabbed the game back."
Fischer got his second 29 seconds into the second period on a rush with another pretty feed from Stepan. He beat Bobrovsky again 4:44 into the third , shortly after Columbus came up empty on its third power play.
Columbus has lost two straight and three of the last four.
"I think the plays are there to be made but we're not making them," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. "We're out of synch a little bit with that. I don't know what it is. I just think it's lack of detail."
Columbus defenseman Seth Jones made his season debut after spraining a medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Sept. 25. He was expected to miss up to six weeks but made it back in less than a month. He led the team with 27 minutes, 24 seconds on the ice and logged four shots and three blocked shots.
Columbus coach John Tortorella said the team is still searching for an offensive identity.
"I know there are some guys that are lacking confidence right now," he said.
NOTES: F Alex Galchenyuk made his season debut for the Coyotes. He was injured in a preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 18. ... Dubois' goal was the quickest in a game this season for the Blue Jackets. ... Columbus F Artemi Panarin was dropped to the second line late in the first period and Nick Foligno moved up. Tortorella mixed up the lines considerably from there trying to find some chemistry.
Coyotes: Hosts Vancouver on Thursday night.
Blue Jackets: At St. Louis on Thursday night.
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Updated October 23, 2018