Columbus Blue Jackets @ Phoenix Coyotes
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014, 9:00PM
Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, Arizona
The Columbus Blue Jackets will suit up for their first game of 2014 tonight when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes. It is their second game of a four game road trip, which will see them play playoff contenders from the Western Conference, as well as the New York Rangers. On New Years Eve, they closed out 2013 with another 5-3 loss, this time to the Colorado Avalanche. For the second game in a row, the Columbus penalty kill allowed the opposition to score three power play goals. Special teams has been rough for Columbus in the past few games. While the team has played well overall, they have not capitalized on the chances they have been given, and have gotten burned on errors made.
Phoenix began a six game homestand on New Years Eve with a 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Coyotes will play ten games at home this month. In their last ten games, the Coyotes have gone 4-2-4, whereas Columbus is now 5-4-1 in the same time frame. For Phoenix, the win over the Oilers snapped a three game losing streak.
Both teams tonight will be looking to get 2014 started off on a positive note.
- The Blue Jackets power play is struggling. Columbus went 0-3 on the man advantage against Colorado, and has failed to score on their last 16 power plays. They are also 1-24 in their last 7 games. [ NHL.com ]
- The Coyotes have 14 points in games that they have trailed by two goals or more, which currently leads the NHL. [ NHL.com ]
- Both the Jackets and Phoenix have a 100.9 PDO, which puts them in a three way tie with Tampa Bay for 9th overall in the league. [ Extra Skater ]
- The Jackets currently have a -2.1 even strength Shot Differential / 60 mins, which puts them 22nd overall. Phoenix has a +0.3 SD/60, which ranks them 16th overall. [ Extra Skater ]
- On Wednesday afternoon Coach Todd Richards said it is very likely that Nathan Horton will make his debut for the Blue Jackets tonight. While it is not 100% a sure thing, Horton looked good in yesterday’s morning skate, and if he is still good today, then he will be in the lineup.
It’s not 100 percent, but there is a very good chance he will play tomorrow. It may not happen. But based on today, right now, there is a really good chance.
-Coach Todd Richards [ Blue Jackets Xtra ]
- The Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell also reported that Sergei Bobrovsky may be back in the lineup tonight as well, albeit as a backup. However, that means Bob is just one step closer to being back between the pipes for Columbus.
The Union and Blue Song For the Game:
The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You (Live)
Let’s hope this is the only time you hear this song tonight, as it also happens to be Phoenix’s goal song. What is it with all these teams outside of Ohio using The Black Keys for their goal song anyway? I still wish that the Blue Jackets would use one of the Ohio native’s songs for theirs. Oh well, we can save that debate for another day. Enjoy this live version of Howlin’ For You!