NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 4th (All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (20-16-3) at Phoenix Coyotes (17-13-8), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets weren't able to extend their winning streak in the opener of their road trip last time out despite a quick start. They'll try to avoid a second straight defeat overall and eighth in their last nine games versus the Coyotes this evening in a visit to Phoenix.
Despite R.J. Umberger's goal just 37 seconds into Sunday's clash versus the Predators, the Blue Jackets had a three-game win streak end with a 4-1 defeat. It was Columbus' 15th straight defeat in Nashville.
"We just sat back [in the last two periods]. We didn't get shots through and we didn't box out in front of our net," said Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash. "They came at use harder than in the first period."
Steve Mason gave up all four goals on 26 shots for the Blue Jackets, who are now just 6-10-3 since a season-best five-game win streak on Nov. 17-24. They dropped the first contest of a four-game road trip and have lost eight of their last nine as the guest overall.
Umberger scored in a third straight game and is second on the club with 13 goals and 27 points, but has just a goal and two helpers in 10 career games versus Phoenix. Mason is winless in his career against the club, going 0-4-0 with a 3.31 goals-against average.
The Blue Jackets have lost three straight and seven of their last eight against the Coyotes, dropping three of their last four visits to Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix will hope to maintain that previous success in this series as it has lost three of four and seven of its last 10 overall. The Coyotes lost a wild 6-5 decision in overtime at Minnesota on Sunday despite a season-high 44 shots.
The two teams combined for six goals in the third period, including four by the Coyotes. Ed Jovanovski and Ray Whitney scored less than three minutes apart to five Phoenix a lead, but Minnesota forced overtime on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's goal with just 26 seconds left in regulation before winning it on Cam Barker's tally 46 seconds into overtime.
"Every time we made a mistake it ended up in the net," said Coyotes forward Shane Doan. "We have to be better mentally."
Doan ended with two assists in the contest to give him five goals and five assists over a six-game point streak. Whitney scored twice, Keith Yandle finished with a goal and an assist and Scott Upshall tallied his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Jason LaBarbera surrendered six goals on 29 shots.
Ilya Bryzgalov could get the call in net tonight for Phoenix and is 6-4-0 with a 2.30 GAA in his career when facing Columbus. However, Bryzgalov is just 1-2-0 with a 3.37 GAA in three starts since returning from a five-game absence caused by an upper-body injury.
Doan has three goals and five assists in his last seven games versus the Blue Jackets, including a pair of three-point games.
01/04 11:16:59 ET