Columbus' Todd Richards will coach his first home game tonight when the Phoenix Coyotes invade Nationwide Arena.
"It's exciting to be at home and play a home game in front of your family and friends," Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. "But honestly…when the game gets going, you lose where you're at. You're focused on the game. When the game starts, you're just looking at the ice. You kind of block everything else out -- the crowd, the noise. You really zero in."
One of the things the crowd could make noise for is the return of defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who was the first draft pick in Blue Jackets history. The fourth pick of the 2000 Entry Draft, Klesla played parts of 10 seasons in Columbus before being traded to Phoenix last season. The Blue Jackets have announced they will play a video tribute to Klesla during the game.
Here are the likely lineups for the teams. The Coyotes, who lost in Detroit last night, opted against skating this morning:
Vinny Prospal - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash
Ryan Johansen - Antoine Vermette - Tomas Kubalik
Ryan Russell - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Dane Byers - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot - John Moore
Aaron Johnson - David Savard
Curtis Sanford will start in goal, with Steve Mason the backup.
Mikkel Boedker - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Kyle Chipchura - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Gilbert Brule - Lauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette
Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Michal Rozsival
Jason LaBarbera will start in goal, with Mike Smith the backup.
For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK