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Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will play the third game of a critical six-game homestand tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (40-24-11), which has gone 7-1-1 in its past nine games, will enter the game in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, just three points behind the Pacific Division-leading San Jose and three points ahead of fifth-place Chicago.

• Click here to see the conference standings.

The Coyotes will be looking to build on a 2-1 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday, in which they rallied from a 1-0 deficit to earn two more critical points.

Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal for Phoenix, which has posted a 2-1-0 record vs. Columbus this season. Bryzgalov, who moved into second place on the franchise's all-time wins list (127) on Tuesday with his win over the Blues, is the first Coyotes goalie to post consecutive 30-win seasons since Nikolai Khabibulin (1996-99). Bryzgalov has a 6-2-0 record with a 2.01 goals-against average in his last eight starts against the Blue Jackets, including the first three games played against them this season.

Tonight's game will be the first between the Coyotes and Blue Jackets since the teams made the trade that brought defenseman Rostisalv Klesla to Phoenix in exchange for forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto.

“I’m sure it will be kind of weird to play against my old friends,” Klesla said after Wednesday’s practice. “…It should be interesting. I’m just hoping that we’re going to get the win.”

• Click here to listen to Klesla talk about playing the Blue Jackets, the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2000.

The Coyotes again will play minus center Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury) and defenseman Ed Jovanovski (upper-body injury).

Photo by Getty Images.
Columbus (33-29-11) will enter the game in 12th place in the Western Conference standings, 10 points behind eighth-place Anaheim.

The Blue Jackets already have set a franchise mark for road victories this season with 17. However, they are just 2-2-3 in seven games played away from Columbus in March. Most recently, the Blue Jackets lost a 5-4 shootout to Colorado on Tuesday in Denver. It was a frustrating defeat considering Columbus let a 3-1 lead slip away in the final 13 minutes.

Columbus scored a season-high three power-play goals in last month's win over Phoenix, but is 0 for 23 on the power play in its past seven games.

Captain Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets and ranks 16th in the NHL with 66 points. He also leads the team and is 10th in the League with 32 goals.

"They are a dangerous team," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "It's the combination of desperately still seeking the playoffs and the players trying to get recognized this year."

Who's Hot
Coyotes winger Ray Whitney, who ranks third on the team with 54 points, has notched four goals and five assists in his last 10 games.
Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie, who averages just 10:46 of ice time per game, has notched five goals and two assists in his last 10 games.
Did You Know?
  • This game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on KFNN 1510 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at at 7 p.m.

Click below to listen to members of the Coyotes talk about tonight's game.

• Rostislav Klesla

• Dave Tippett

  Chris Clark
  Grant Clitsome
  Kristian Huselius
  Ethan Moreau
  Martin Hanzal
  Ed Jovanovski
2010-2011 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 24 '11 CBJ 0 at PHX 3 M. Rozsival
Feb 25 '11 PHX 3 at CBJ 5 M. Calvert
Jan 11 '11 PHX 4 at CBJ 3 D. Morris
Jan 04 '11 CBJ 2 at PHX 4 S. Doan
R. Nash73323466+33467
R. Umberger74233053+73673
J. Voracek72143246+32422
D. Brassard66152843-55153
A. Vermette74172441+25633
S. Upshall74201232-15022
F. Tyutin7262026-73210
K. Russell6751823-53210
K. Huselius3512921-16851
D. MacKenzie5591221+151501
J. Hejda7151520-22600
G. Clitsome2841418+11620
S. Pahlsson7461117-113001
M. Calvert3411516+61231
D. Dorsett6831215-1416100
M. Methot6601515+35600
C. Clark515914-43620
S. Lepisto6241014+104100
A. Stralman4711314-52011
J. Boll656511-217502
K. Wilson324711-31200
R. Klesla453710+102600
A. Murray29448+2401
N. Filatov23077+3800
M. Commodore20246-84402
E. Moreau37156-92401
C. Rivet32224-91600
T. Sestito9224-44010
N. Holden5000+0000
N. Guenin3000-3200
J. Moore2000+0000
M. Blunden1000-1000
M. Mayorov1000-1000
S. Mason5023-19-613814222.98.903
M. Garon3210-11-5767852.66.903
K. Yandle76114758+106630
S. Doan66183856+66395
R. Whitney69153954+32231
R. Vrbata73182846+520102
L. Korpikoski76182038+191804
E. Belanger76132336+93612
L. Stempniak76171835+71920
T. Pyatt71171229+122726
S. Upshall61161127+54222
M. Hanzal59161026+34875
K. Turris59111223+01201
A. Aucoin6931922+215000
V. Fiddler6661420+44402
M. Rozsival5961420+93823
W. Wolski3661016-61000
D. Morris7151015-55611
E. Jovanovski475914+33711
D. Schlemko4031013+92400
M. Boedker3031013+10600
R. Klesla554711+93600
S. Lepisto514711+73700
O. Ekman-Larsson4811011+32400
A. Ebbett27134-2401
B. MacLean10213+1212
P. Bissonnette43101+56600
N. Yonkman16011+53900
P. Prucha11011+0400
G. Stafford2000+0000
C. Summers2000-3400
I. Bryzgalov6234-18-815219312.47.921
J. LaBarbera177-6-3485293.26.909
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