By Dave Vest The Coyotes will play the second of back-to-back road games tonight when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Photo by Getty Images.
The Coyotes (20-13-9) will enter the game less than 24 hours after beating the St. Louis Blues, 4-3, on Monday night at the Scottrade Center.
Phoenix has won three of its past four games to climb into seventh place in the Western Conference standings with 49 points.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to start tonight’s game after missing the past three games for various reasons. Bryzgalov last played on Jan. 4 when he stopped 26 of 28 shots to help Phoenix beat the Blue Jackets 4-2.
Defenseman Michal Rozsival, whom the Coyotes acquired from the New York Rangers on Monday, will not join the team in Columbus today. Instead he will join the team on Wednesday in Phoenix (see PODCASTS below).
The Coyotes have won four straight and eight of the past nine matchups vs. Columbus (20-19-3), which will enter the game with a four-game losing streak. All four losses came on the road.
"This next month of hockey is crucial, it's important to set us up for a push," Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger told reporters. "We need to be focused and give it everything we've got and win some hockey games."
Blue Jackets No. 1 goalie Steve Mason, who suffered a groin injury last week, is not expected to play tonight.
Instead, the Coyotes will likely face backup Mathieu Garon, who is 0-4 with a 5.64 goals-against average in his last five appearances.
Coyotes left wing Taylor Pyatt, who scored the game-winning goal on Monday, has notched three goals and two assists in the past four games.
Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, who leads the team with 20 goals and 34 points, scored two goals in a 6-4 loss to LA on Saturday.
The Coyotes have held the Blue Jackets to two or less goals in each of the last 11 meetings between the teams.
Coyotes Assistant Coach Dave King was the first head hoach in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets. King coached the Jackets for two and a half seasons (2000-03).
This game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 5 p.m.
Click below to listen to an interview with the newest member of the Coyotes.