BLUE JACKETS (17-19-4) at COYOTES (20-10-9)
Season Series: The Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes will play the first of two games this season. Phoenix was 2-0-1 against Columbus in 2012-13.
Big Story: The Coyotes have played a franchise-record six consecutive overtime games, one shy of the NHL record set by two other teams.
Phoenix opened its six-game homestand with a 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on New Year's Eve. After a heavy slate of road games in December, Phoenix plays 10 games this month at Jobing.com Arena.
Coyotes: Keith Yandle's goal with 6.5 seconds left in overtime Tuesday against the Oilers gave Phoenix a win to close out 2013. Yandle also set up Mikkel Boedker's tying goal with 70 seconds left in regulation.
''We always talk about scratching and clawing,'' Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. ''You've got to do everything you can to get points in the regular season to get yourself into the playoffs. Some are a little bigger character-builders than others.''
Mike Smith will be back in goal for the Coyotes after being removed from Tuesday's game after allowing three goals on 10 shots. Smith owns a 4-3-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.24 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 11 career games against Columbus.
The Coyotes have overcome two-goal deficits to earn at least a point in nine games this season. Phoenix also owns a 12-10-9 record for 33 points in games when they trailed at any time
Rookie defenseman Connor Murphy, who lists Dublin, Ohio as his hometown, will face the Blue Jackets for the first time in his young NHL career.
Blue Jackets: Columbus received good news Thursday morning. Center Nathan Horton is expected to play in his first game wearing a Blue Jackets sweater. Horton, who signed a seven-year contract worth $37.1 million in July, has been out since undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.
Goals from Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen could not get Columbus over the hump Tuesday in Denver. Special teams were an issue for the Blue Jackets. Their power play, which went 0-for-3 against Colorado, has failed to score on 16 consecutive chances with the man advantage and is 1-for-24 in the past seven games. Columbus has allowed three power-play goals in two straight games.
''We outworked them, outshot them and out-chanced them. And we still came up short,'' center Mark Letestu said. ''Our penalty kill has to step up here. That's two games we have been burned pretty good there. As a group, we have to look in the mirror and be better.''
Who's hot: Yandle scored twice with an assist Tuesday for the Coyotes and has five points in three games. He leads the team in assists (21) and home scoring (4-14-18 in 17 games)... Johansen has 10 goals and eight assists his past 17 games for the Blue Jackets. Foligno has six points (two goals) his past seven games.
Injury report: Coyotes captain Shane Doan (illness) and defensemen Rostislav Klesla (illness) and Zbynek Michalek (lower body) are on IR... Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (strained groin) is expected to dress as the backup and defenseman Dalton Prout (upper body) could return. Forward Matt Calvert (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday retroactive to Dec. 21. Right wing Jack Skille (upper body) left the game Tuesday after playing one shift in the second period and did not return. Forwards Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone), Jared Boll (torn ankle tendon) and Oliver Gabriel (torn Achilles tendon) are on injured reserve.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL
|Back to top ↑|