NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 11th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (20-13-9) at Columbus Blue Jackets (20-19-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Columbus was simply awful on defense while going winless on a four-game road trip last week and the Blue Jackets will try to get back on track tonight on home ice as they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets won their final three games of December, but then turned in an 0-4 road trip to kick off the 2011 calendar year. Columbus suffered defeats in Nashville, Phoenix, Anaheim and Los Angeles and was outscored by a combined 20-7 margin during the swing.
Columbus yielded six goals for the second straight game Saturday in LA, dropping a 6-4 decision to the Kings. Jarret Stoll scored two goals and Jack Johnson collected three assists for Los Angeles, which jumped out to a 4-0 lead but allowed the Blue Jackets to pull within one on two occasions in the third period.
Rick Nash lit the lamp twice in the third period for the Blue Jackets, while Mathieu Garon stopped 30 shots.
The Blue Jackets have won two straight and five of their last seven home games. They have an 11-9-1 record as the host this season.
Columbus was dealt a 4-2 loss when it visited the Coyotes last Tuesday. Shane Doan had a goal and an assist in the win and Phoenix's captain has 14 goals and 31 points in 37 career games against the Jackets. Ilya Bryzgalov posted 26 saves for the win in last week's meeting and Garon was touched for four goals on 33 shots in the loss.
The Coyotes have won four straight, eight of nine and nine of the last 11 overall meetings with the Blue Jackets. Phoenix has also taken five in a row and six out of seven in Columbus.
Phoenix also enters tonight's tilt having won three of its last four games overall. The Coyotes were in action Monday in St. Louis and they recorded a 4-3 regulation win thanks to Taylor Pyatt's go-ahead goal with 3:12 remaining in the third period.
Matt D'Agostini and Brad Winchester had scored 20 seconds apart early in the third period to put St. Louis ahead 3-2, but the Coyotes pulled even when Kyle Turris beat Jaroslav Halak with a wrister from the high slot midway through the frame.
Phoenix seized the lead as Pyatt slipped the puck behind Halak on a wraparound.
"I was actually looking to make a pass out front, but I saw I had some room to step out. I just tried to jam the puck as hard as I could and it went through [Halak's] legs," recalled Pyatt.
Jason LaBarbera made 33 saves for Phoenix as he started his third straight game in place of Ilya Bryzgalov, who could be back in net tonight for the Coyotes. Phoenix's No. 1 netminder sat out the last two contests due to a family medical issue.
Prior to Monday's game the Coyotes pulled off a trade, sending forward Wojtek Wolski to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival. The 32-year-old Rozsival has three goals and 15 points this year, but he has been sidelined lately with bruised ribs and is questionable for tonight.
The Coyotes have won their last two road games and are 12-8-4 as the guest this year.
01/11 11:07:45 ET