Jackets aim for sweep of Coyotes
Monday, 04.02.2012 / 7:11 PM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorBLUE JACKETS (27-45-7) at COYOTES (39-27-13)
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: Columbus 5-5-0; Phoenix 5-2-3.
: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Columbus is going for a sweep of the Coyotes on Tuesday night.
: Phoenix has yet to pick up a victory against the Blue Jackets this season, which is what probably has fans in the desert awfully nervous heading into Tuesday's showdown. The Coyotes enter the contest in seventh place in the Western Conference, only two points ahead of ninth-place Dallas. With only three games remaining on the schedule, Phoenix can't afford to come away empty-handed against the Jackets, who have the fewest points in the League.
: Columbus has nothing but pride to play for at this point, and would certainly love to play the spoiler role against the Coyotes. Give the Blue Jackets credit -- they haven't exactly looked ahead to the offseason, as they'll enter Tuesday's action seeking their fourth straight win. Their three consecutive victories have come against three playoff-bound clubs -- Detroit, Florida and St. Louis.
"It's huge for our confidence," rookie goalie Allen York
said after Saturday's 5-2 win against the Blues at the Scottrade Center. "We showed that we're not the team that everyone thinks we are. We're a very dangerous team."
: Phoenix is aiming for its third straight win, and much of that has to do with the play of its goaltender. Mike Smith
enters Tuesday's game boasting a shutout streak of 159 minutes and 59 seconds after stopping all 44 shots he faced in Saturday's 4-0 win against Anaheim at Jobing.com Arena.
"Our goaltender was excellent again and our special teams were good," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
: York has not allowed more than two goals in his first three NHL starts. … Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson
has five goals in his last 10 games, while forward Radim Vrbata
has scored three times in his last two contests.
: Columbus is expected to be without Fedor Tyutin
(broken hand), Derek McKenzie (concussion), Kristian Huselius
(lower body), Radek Martinek
(concussion), Marc Methot
(jaw), Curtis Sanford
(leg), James Wisniewski
(concussion symptoms) and Steve Mason
(concussion symptoms). … Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt
is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
: Smith earned his 35th win of the season Saturday night. He entered the 2011-12 campaign having never won more than 14 games in a single season. … Ekman-Larsson scored his 13th goal of the season Saturday night. Only four other NHL defensemen have scored more goals this season.
: "There's been a couple times in (my) career where it didn't look like it was going to go on any further, so this is something I'm very proud of." -- Coyotes forward Ray Whitney after tallying his 1,000th NHL point Saturday night