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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, November 12th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (7-6-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (7-6-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season to four games when they welcome the Phoenix Coyotes for tonight's matchup at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets hadn't posted back-to-back wins at all this year before beginning their current four-game homestand with three straight victories.

Columbus, which is 5-2-1 as the host this year, began the residency with a win over Edmonton last Wednesday and followed with a shootout decision over Montreal on Friday.

The Jackets kept the streak alive Saturday against Calgary. Derick Brassard's early second-period goal proved to be the game-winner, as Columbus defeated the Flames, 3-1.

Jason Chimera and Manny Malhotra also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have recorded at least a point in six consecutive games (4-0-2). Rookie Steve Mason made 22 saves to pick up his third win in as many starts. The youngster has stepped up in a big way since being recalled from Syracuse earlier this month when Columbus' No. 1 netminder Pascal Leclaire went down with an ankle injury.

Mason, a third-round pick by Columbus in the 2006 draft, has posted a 2.60 goals against average and a .907 save percentage in addition to his 3-0 record at the NHL level. The 20-year-old is expected to get the call again tonight.

Leclaire could be ready to return this weekend, when the Blue Jackets have road tests in Buffalo and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Tonight, the Blue Jackets will try for their first four-game winning streak since January 11-17 of last season.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, have a chance to post their first three-game winning streak of the season tonight after posting consecutive home wins over Florida and San Jose last weekend.

Phoenix earned its most recent victory on Sunday as it put an end to the Sharks' seven-game winning streak with a 4-2 decision at Jobing.com Arena.

Olli Jokinen scored two goals and added an assist to help the Coyotes to the win. Jokinen leads Phoenix with 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) and has six goals and three helpers over his last six outings.

Peter Mueller registered a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who won consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 2-0.

Viktor Tikhonov also found the back of the net, while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 30-of-32 shots, including 15 in the third period.

Phoenix, which is 2-4-0 as the visiting team this year, will play two straight on the road beginning with tonight's test and ending with Thursday's tilt at Minnesota.

The Coyotes earned a 3-1 home victory over Columbus on October 11 in the first of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Blue Jackets have still taken four of the last six meetings in the series, but Phoenix has come out on top in three of its previous five stops in Ohio.

11/12 10:49:48 ET


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