NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 20th (All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (14-14-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (15-13-4), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Unlike last year, the Coyotes are sending their fans home happy after games. Phoenix will try to record at least a point in a sixth straight game as the host tonight, when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes went just 17-20-4 at home last year, but have turned it around this season. Phoenix is 4-0-1 in its last five games at Jobing.com Arena, where it is 10-4-2 this year.
The club is coming off a victory over visiting Nashville on Thursday, as Kyle Turris scored twice in a 2-1 victory. The third-overall pick of the 2007 draft has five goals and six assists in 30 games this year.
Ilya Bryzgalov was stellar between the pipes in stopping 30 shots for Phoenix, which is 3-0-2 over its last five games overall. Enver Lisin, Zbynek Michalek and Ed Jovanovski all had assists.
Bryzgalov is one of the reasons the Coyotes have done well at home this year, as he is 7-2-2 with a 1.99 goals against average in 12 games at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix will next hit the road for three straight, though, starting with a test in Edmonton on Monday.
The Coyotes will be aiming to sweep their four-game season series with Columbus tonight. However, they have lost four of their last six at home versus the Blue Jackets.
Columbus enters this test coming off what it felt was a victory but on the books is a 6-5 shootout loss to Dallas. Pascal Leclaire allowed five goals on 17 shots and was beaten twice in the shootout.
However, the Blue Jackets thought they had won it just 13 seconds into overtime, but an apparent goal by Manny Malhotra was waived off after the officials determined that Malhotra used a kicking motion to direct the puck into the goal. Head coach Ken Hitchcock disagreed after the game.
Rick Nash scored twice and added an assist for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two of their last three. R.J. Umberger had a goal and two helpers, while Derick Brassard and Kristian Huselius also scored.
Brassard, who leads all NHL rookies with 25 points, left the game in the first period with a shoulder injury and is out for tonight's game.
Tonight could mark the Columbus debut of 30-year-old Mike York, who signed with the team as a free agent this offseason. A veteran of 578 NHL games, York had seven goals and 16 assists in 28 games with Syracuse of the American Hockey League. He netted six goals with eight assists in 63 games with Phoenix last season.
Columbus has lost six straight on the road and is 4-9-3 as the visiting team this season.
12/20 10:39:46 ET