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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
The Coyotes will try to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race tonight when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Arena in the team's regular-season home finale. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (39-27-13) will enter the game in seventh place in the conference standings, two points behind Los Angeles, which leads the Pacific Division.

► Click here to see the latest NHL standings.

The Coyotes, who have lost all three games vs. Columbus this season, will enter the game with a two-game winning streak during which they've outscored opponents 6-0.

"We want to be playing past this week, and to do that we have to continue to play better each game," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We got results the last couple games, but there's parts of our game that can certainly improve."

► Click here to watch Tippett's remarks after Tuesday's morning skate.

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, who on Monday was named the NHL’s No. 3 Star of the Week, will enter the game with a shutout streak of 159 minutes and 59 seconds.

“I’ve always been a guy that wants to play a lot of games and this year I’m getting the opportunity to do that,” Smith said. “It feels good to be doing well.”

Offensively, Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has notched five goals in his last 10 games, and forward Radim Vrbata has scored three times in his last two games.

Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt, who has missed the past six games because of an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup tonight.

"I feel like I still have a lot to prove and a lot to give to the guys in this locker room," said Pyatt, who has notched just 16 points in 70 games this season.

Photo by Getty Images.
Columbus (27-45-7) will enter the game a non-playoff-bound yet confident team thanks to a three-game winning streak against playoff contenders Detroit, Florida and St. Louis.

Rookie goalie Allen York has started all three games of the winning streak and has stopped 114 of the last 120 shots he’s faced over the last four games, posting a 1.56 goals-against average and .950 save percentage during that stretch.

"It's huge for our confidence," York told reporters after the team’s latest win, a 5-2 thumping of the Blues in St. Louis. "We showed that we're not the team that everyone thinks we are. We're a very dangerous team."

Captain Rick Nash, who has a five-game point streak (two goals and six assists), has notched three goals in the first three games vs. Phoenix this season.

Who's Hot
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith posted back-to-back shutouts in his past two starts and made 82 saves in those games. 
Blue Jackets left wing RJ Umberger has scored five of his 19 goals this season in the past three games.
Did You Know?
  • Before the game, the Coyotes will honor left wing Ray Whitney for reaching the 1,000 NHL point mark in Saturday's win over Anaheim with a pre-game ceremony.

  • Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has tied former captain Teppo Numminen for most goals (13) by a Coyotes defenseman since the 2001-02 season.

  • Tonight's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and on Money Radio 1510 AM at 7 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.

  Kristian Huselius
  Radek Martinek
  Steve Mason
  Derek McKenzie
  Marc Methot
  Curtis Sanford
  Fedor Tyutin
  James Wisniewski
  None reported

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 03 '12 CBJ 0 at PHX 2 B. Gordon
Mar 06 '12 PHX 2 at CBJ 3 D. MacKenzie
Mar 03 '12 CBJ 5 at PHX 2 N. Nikitin
Jan 13 '12 PHX 3 at CBJ 4 D. Brassard
R. Nash80272956-214051
V. Prospal80153651-132630
R. Umberger75191938-122553
D. Brassard72142438-224253
J. Johnson80112435-103755
N. Nikitin5972431-101833
A. Vermette6081927-171223
F. Tyutin6652126-214910
J. Carter39151025-111481
J. Wisniewski4651924-173511
M. Letestu60111223-12840
R. Johansen6591221-12433
D. Dorsett7512719-1021821
A. Johnson5431316-132610
D. MacKenzie667714+44012
G. Clitsome5141014-62411
S. Pahlsson612911-62200
D. Savard312810+01610
C. Atkinson25268-31400
C. Gillies73257-103500
J. Moore67257-23800
M. Methot46167-112400
D. Boyce35134-92901
B. Lebda28134-21400
J. Boll52213-812100
K. Russell12213-11300
M. Calvert13033-51600
R. Russell39202-7200
M. Mayorov10112-3200
T. Kubalik8112-3600
A. Giroux9101-2800
R. Martinek7101-3000
C. Bass14011+03200
D. Byers8000+02900
D. Prout3000+0000
K. Huselius2000-2200
C. Goloubef1000+1000
A. Joudrey1000+0000
S. Mason4414-26-313812803.43.892
C. Sanford3610-18-4869712.60.911
A. York113-2-0161992.30.920
R. Whitney80245175+252681
R. Vrbata75332760+2322911
S. Doan77212748-114855
K. Yandle80103242+55102
L. Korpikoski80171936+11403
A. Vermette80112435-162844
M. Hanzal6282533+116132
O. Ekman-Larsson80131932-33022
D. Langkow71111829-41411
R. Torres77151025+26411
B. Gordon7381422+71002
M. Boedker8091221-51202
T. Pyatt7171017-62100
K. Chipchura5331316+24200
G. Brule315914+7910
R. Klesla6331013+104500
D. Morris572911-123600
M. Rozsival5211011+52800
D. Schlemko4611011+71000
A. Aucoin64279+144210
D. Rundblad30167-12600
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
M. Pouliot13044-2200
M. Stone11123+4200
C. Summers21033-41100
P. Bissonnette31101-44101
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
A. Bolduc2000-1200
M. Watkins1000-1000
M. Smith6536-18-1014220102.25.929
J. LaBarbera193-9-3434862.54.912
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