GAME DAY: at Phoenix

The Blue Jackets start a set of back-to-back games against the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena

Tuesday, 01.22.2013 / 10:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

BLUE JACKETS (1-0-1) AT COYOTES (0-2-0)

JOBING.COM ARENA | GLENDALE, AZ

10 P.M. TONIGHT

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO (HD) | RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM





For the second consecutive game, the Blue Jackets will face an opponent eager to make amends and get back on track.

On Monday night at Nationwide Arena, it was the Detroit Red Wings who spoiled a sold-out home opener with a 4-3 shootout victory. And now in their second road game of the young NHL season, the Blue Jackets draw a Coyotes club that hasn't found any sort of traction in its game. Phoenix was involved in a third-period barnburner with the Dallas Stars on Saturday night and eventually dropped a 4-3 final, and two nights ago against Chicago, found themselves in a similar situation with the Blackhawks.

A back-and-forth shootout kind of game resulted in the Blackhawks' second win of the season and another head-scratcher for the usually stout Coyotes defense, which has yielded 10 goals in the first two games of the season. Mike Smith, who was the story of the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring, has surprisingly struggled in Phoenix's first two games but he hasn't received much help from his defense. The Blackhawks were brilliant off the rush and exploited the Coyotes on Sunday night, and a wise person would surmise that Dave Tippett will have his group fully prepared for the Blue Jackets.

The Coyotes welcomed back captain Shane Doan with a new four-year contract over the summer after a brief free-agent flirtation with a handful of NHL clubs. He's their undisputed offensive leader and often plays alongside big center Martin Hanzal on the No. 1 line, and the support scoring is also strong. Radim Vrbata is a perennial 30-goal threat and the addition of Antoine Vermette last February gives Phoenix balance through the middle of the ice. GM Don Maloney strengthened the center position even further by acquiring Matthew Lombardi from Toronto last week, setting up Lombardi's second tour of duty in Glendale.

Steve Sullivan and David Moss were under-the-radar free agent pickups for Phoenix that add to the forward group, but the most exciting part of their team is on the blue line. Several young prospects are already in the mix, including Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Stone (recently called up) and prospect David Rundblad, who is currently playing in Portland (AHL). Rostislav Klesla, Derek Morris and Zbynek Michalek are solid veteran presences on defense for Phoenix that make it a well-balanced group, and one that can match up well with most clubs in the Western Conference.




- The Blue Jackets and Coyotes begin their three-game season series tonight. Their next meeting is Feb. 16 at Jobing.com Arena, and then Mar. 16 at Nationwide Arena. Phoenix has won 13 of 22 all-time meetings against the Blue Jackets on home ice.

- Phoenix was 15-for-15 on the penalty kill vs. Columbus last season,

- Blue Jackets forward Vinny Prospal is seven assists shy of 500 for his NHL career. He has registered 3-14-17 in 22 career games against the Coyotes.

- Derick Brassard loves playing the Coyotes, and last season, played some of his best hockey against Phoenix in two meetings down the stretch. He's recorded 6-7-13 in 16 games versus the Coyotes in his career.



Mikkel Boedker
MIKKEL BOEDKER

LEFT WING | NO. 89

2011-12 STATS: 11-13-24, -2

Boedker still hasn't reached his full potential as a former first-round pick (8th overall, 2008) but he certainly became a Coyotes legend with overtime heroics in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs. He scored some big goals in Phoenix's series with the Blackhawks and finished the playoffs with eight points (four goals, four assists) in 16 games. The flashy Dane can dangle and snipe, and some think it's only a matter of time before he puts it all together.




COLUMBUS: none

PHOENIX: none




READ: Staying disciplined a key for Columbus
READ: Aftermath No. 2: Detroit
READ: Post Game: Detroit
READ: Jackets must play "their game" vs. Detroit
READ: Dorsett says team stuck with it vs. Preds
READ: Post Game: Nashville

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 3 3 1 1 4
B. Dubinsky 3 0 4 0 4
M. Calvert 3 2 1 3 3
R. Johansen 3 1 2 0 3
B. Jenner 3 1 2 -1 3
D. Savard 3 0 3 1 3
C. Atkinson 3 1 1 1 2
D. MacKenzie 3 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 3 1 0 0 1
J. Skille 3 0 1 -1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 1 2 0 .904 3.32
 
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