Coyotes set for long stretch on home ice
Monday, 12.21.2009 / 7:00 PM
BLUE JACKETS (14-15-7) at COYOTES (21-13-2)
-- Blue Jackets (1-6-3); Coyotes (7-2-1)
-- The last time the clubs met four days ago in Columbus, the Coyotes earned a 2-1 shootout decision as Shane Doan
, who was playing in his 1,000th NHL game, delivered a backhand attempt through the legs of Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon in the shootout. It was certainly a special moment for Doan, as his daughter, Gracie, turned 11 on the same day. This is the last of four games between the teams this season -- the Coyotes have won two of the three previous matchups.
"It's a huge blessing," Doan said after playing in his 1,000th game. "It's hard to say what it really means right now. It will probably mean a lot more to me later on. Right now, that was a big win for us and we needed it."
-- Despite all the outside distractions, the Coyotes continue to shine, even after their 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. The contest was the fourth road game in six days for Phoenix, which will now play 12 of its next 15 within the friendly confines of Jobing.com Arena, where it has posted a 12-5-0 mark. The Coyotes are 8-2-1 over their last 11 games.
-- After playing five of six at home, Columbus is now in the midst of playing six of eight on the road. Monday's game is the second of a four-game trip that also includes stops in Dallas (Wednesday) and Detroit (Saturday). Columbus has posted a 6-9-3 mark on the road this season and has lost five straight. The club is 1-6-2 in December and has scored just 21 goals over that stretch.
"Everyone is really getting tired of this losing stuff," Columbus goalie Steve Mason
said. "We've got to get it turned around."
-- With 44 points, the Coyotes are off to the second-best 35-game start to a season in franchise history in terms of points. The 1998-99 Coyotes collected 47 points through 35 games with a 21-9-5 record.
The Coyotes will hold a special pre-game ceremony prior to the team's home game on Dec. 26 against the Los Angeles Kings to honor Doan's milestone achievement of playing in 1,000 games.
-- Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle
has registered four points (3 assists) in the last three games and five points (4 assists) in the last five. For the season, the fourth-year blueliner leads all Coyotes defensemen in points (17) and has matched his career-high in goals (5).
-- The Blue Jackets will be without defenseman Rostislav Klesla
(torn groin/abdominal muscle) and feisty right wing Derek Dorsett
(broken hand). For Phoenix, defenseman Kurt Sauer
(neck injury) and left wing Vernon Fiddler (lower body) are out.
-- The Coyotes finished 0-for-4 on the power play Saturday and finished the four-game road trip 1-for-11. The club has connected for just two goals in their last 39 power-play chances but is 8-2-1 over that stretch.
-- According to reports out of Columbus, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson is in the market for a defenseman to replace Klesla, who's out until February. The club has allowed 16 goals in its last five games -- all losses. Goalie Steve Mason
, the 2009 Calder Trophy winner, was pulled less than five minutes into Saturday's loss to Colorado after allowing three goals on only five shots, marking the fifth time he's been pulled in 28 starts this season.
"It's a tough market," Howson said. "As tough a market as we've ever seen. Teams are trying to move long-term contracts, or they're so close to the salary cap that they can't do anything."