Boll gets first NHL goal as Jackets handle Coyotes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Pascal Leclaire is refusing to give up his job.

Jared Boll scored his first NHL goal and Leclaire picked up his second straight shutout to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Leclaire was injured most of last year and his replacement, Fredrik Norrena, came in to post the first winning record for a Columbus goaltender. Most thought Norrena was a shoo-in to take the starting job again this season, with a healthy Leclaire on call.

Wrong. Leclaire hasn't allowed a goal in 150 minutes and 22 seconds dating to last season.

"When you get a shutout it's a team thing," he said after his third career blanking. "Everybody plays well and there's the reason you get a shutout. It's not only the goalie."

Jason Chimera added a goal and two assists, Manny Malhotra had a goal and an assist and Jan Hejda had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who are 2-0 at home -- both Leclaire shutouts.

All of the Columbus points came from the third and fourth lines, which were notoriously unproductive in the franchise's first six seasons.

"We realize how important these points are at the start of a season," Chimera said. "We usually play well in the second half of the season [but] guys are coming out and jumping."

Phoenix goaltender David Aebischer, who dominated the Blue Jackets while he was with Colorado, came in with a 7-0-0 career mark, three shutouts and a 0.85 goals-against average against Columbus.

Leclaire, who shut out defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim 4-0 in the Blue Jackets' season opener, was seldom tested by the Coyotes. He gloved a high slap shot on the power play by Ed Jovanovski in the second period and moments later caught a wrister from the blue line by Freddy Meyer.

Leclaire finished with 32 saves, weathering six Phoenix power plays. He had just one shutout in his first 59 NHL games, now has two in less than a week.

The Coyotes were hitting the road for the first time this season. They closed last season with a seven-game road losing skid and have now lost 13 of their last 14 away from home.

"It was a game where I thought we could have contributed a power-play goal and it would have been a tighter scenario," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "They deserved to win the hockey game; they played well, they played hard. We've got to find a way to get some goals on our power play. It's as simple as that. I think we're 0-for-13, and that's not very good."

The Blue Jackets controlled the opening period, outshooting the Coyotes 13-7 and scoring the only goal.

Chimera had the puck left of the goal and began skating toward the back boards, but flicked a quick pass to Malhotra who was trailing. His one-timer was his first goal of the year.

It was the first Columbus point for Hejda, a free-agent defenseman signed by the Blue Jackets last summer.

At 2:56 of the second period, what appeared to be a harmless shot ended up giving Columbus a two-goal lead. Jan Hejda was near the blue line when he fired the puck at Aebischer. The goalie blocked the shot but it caromed off toward Chimera, who was skating in near the right wing. The puck glanced off his right shin, past defenseman Ed Jovanovski and into the net.

Boll then touched off a wild celebration when he took a pass from Boll and scored on a breakaway, deking before beating Aebischer high on the glove side.

"I've dreamt about this my whole life," he said. "To get my first NHL goal is pretty special. It's even better to get it on a night when we got a win."

Game notes
D Freddy Meyer played in his first Coyotes game after being claimed off waivers from the Islanders on Monday. ... Free-agent signee Michael Peca made his Columbus debut. He had missed the first two games with a groin injury and was activated just before the game. ... Peca blocked a shot midway through the third period and skated slowly to the bench. He did return, however.