NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 7th
(All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (25-23-7) at Phoenix Coyotes (28-22-4), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to rebound from a
disappointing collapse last time out as they get set to host the Columbus
Blue Jackets tonight at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes carried a 3-0 lead into the third period of Tuesday's game versus
Calgary, only to see the Flames net a trio of goals in the final stanza,
including Jarome Iginla's game-tying marker with 8.2 seconds left.
Iginla then scored in the third round of a shootout, beating Ilya Bryzgalov
with a backhand deke. Steve Reinprecht was then stoned by Calgary's Miikka
Kiprusoff, giving the Flames a 4-3 victory.
Peter Mueller recorded a natural hat trick for the Coyotes, who earned at
least a point for seventh time in their last eight games (4-1-3). Mueller
scored once in the first period and netted a pair of goals in the second for
his second career hat trick.
Mueller became the first Coyote to post two three-goal games in the same
season since Jeremy Roenick in the 1999-2000 campaign, and he leads all
rookies with 19 goals this year. Mueller also posted three goals in a win over
Anaheim on November 7.
Bryzgalov allowed three goals on 38 shots in the loss, while Radim Vrbata
missed the game because of an ankle injury. Phoenix's leading goal scorer is
day-to-day with the ailment.
The Coyotes play the first of back-to-back home games tonight and are 11-11-2
as the host this year.
Phoenix will have assistant coach Rick Tocchet back on the bench tonight, as
he will rejoin the Coyotes staff after a two-year absence for his involvement
in an illegal gambling ring.
Tocchet's two-year hiatus came following accusations that he was involved in a
massive betting ring based in southern New Jersey. He later pleaded guilty to
charges of conspiracy and promoting gambling, both in the third degree.
The Blue Jackets have dropped their last four games, though they picked up a
point last time out after falling to Washington, 4-3, in overtime on Tuesday.
Rick Nash had two goals in the loss, including the first 5-on-3 shorthanded
tally in club history.
Jason Chimera, who signed a four-year contract extension on Wednesday, also
scored for Columbus. He has nine goals and 14 assists this season and
currently owns the longest games played streak in club history with 217 games,
which dates back to October 9, 2005.
Fredrik Norrena allowed all three goals on 13 shots faced in place of Pascal
Leclaire, who left late in the second period with a neck injury and didn't
Leclaire was diagnosed with a sprained neck and will miss at least tonight's
game and Friday night's contest in San Jose. The club hopes he can return for
Sunday's home test versus Los Angeles.
Leclaire is 19-11-3 record and 2.10 goals-against average in 38 games this
season and leads the NHL with eight shutouts.
The Blue Jackets are 9-15-2 on the road this season.
Columbus is 2-1-0 versus Phoenix this season and has won six of its last 10
against the Coyotes.
02/07 11:06:30 ET