Coyotes roll to 5-1 win over Blue Jackets
Neither was working through the first games this season, the defense giving up too many good scoring chances and turnovers, and Smith too many goals that wouldn't have gotten by him last season.
Phoenix allowed 10 goals the first two games, against Dallas and Chicago, and all those came against Smith, who began the day with a save percentage of .825.
The Blue Jackets put up plenty of shots against the Coyotes the last time these teams met, peppering Smith with 54 on April 3. He stopped them all, though, setting an NHL record for most saves in a shutout.
He didn't get a chance to match it, facing four shots before leaving the ice during a timeout.
LaBarbera sprawled to kick away a point-blank shot by Ryan Johansen right after coming in, then gave up a goal in the second period to Tyutin, who beat him with a big slap shot from near the blue line.
LaBarbera was solid after that, doing the splits to stop a couple of shots on a scrum in front of his crease in the second period and turning away seven more during a power play in the third.
"I was a little bit nervous going in, but we were focused tonight," LaBarbera said. "We played an unreal game and that's how we have to play every night."
The good defense — and some miscues by the Blue Jackets — helped Phoenix create some good offensive chances.
Sullivan scored his first goal with the Coyotes midway through the second period, punching in a rebound after Mason made a tough save on a shot by Antoine Vermette.
Ekman-Larsson made it 2-1 late in the period, beating Mason with a wrister from between the circles after taking a drop pass from Matthew Lombardi.
Columbus dug itself a deeper hole early in the third period, when Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard were called for separate tripping penalties, giving Phoenix a two-man advantage for two minutes. Sullivan capitalized, one-timing a shot from between the circles on a feed from Mikkel Boedker past Mason.
Sullivan put the game out of reach near the midpoint of the period, squeezing a shot between Mason's pads on a redirect off a pass by Derek Morris.
"We unraveled," Richards said. "The first two games, we dealt with the adversity, but the way the game was starting to turn out was disappointing."
NOTES: Coyotes C Martin Hanzal and D Rostislav Klesla were both out with lower-body injuries. ... Rocker Alice Cooper, a Valley resident and big Coyotes fan, attended the game. ... The Blue Jackets have failed to score on their 18 power plays against the Coyotes, including 0 for 3 Wednesday night. ... Sullivan has 48 points in 48 career games against Columbus.