9:40 P.M. -- SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS:
A much better road period for the Blue Jackets, who had to kill off more penalties but have been awfully stingy while shorthanded tonight. It's a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes and the lone second-period goal came from the stick of Derek MacKenzie, who has played often and well in this game. It was set up by a heads-up play from Boll in the neutral zone, carrying the puck across the blueline and finding MacKenzie, who had jumped into the slot area. The fourth line has been a source of energy all night long for Columbus, finishing checks and creating some problems on the forecheck. Aside from that, it was a quiet period for both sides with not many scoring opportunities being exchanged -- but the biggest period looms ahead. Twenty minutes for two points, and if they continue to play a smart and dependable game, the Blue Jackets have a chance to leave Glendale with both of them.
8:45 P.M. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS:
Well, that was a wild first period. The Blue Jackets and Coyotes combined for four power plays, five goals and a period's worth of up-and-down play with few whistles...which is to say, it was a coach's nightmare. But the good news is it's a 3-2 deficit with 40 minutes to go and Columbus has generated offensive chances and had a presence on the forecheck in the early going, which is much different than their start to last night's game. Jared Boll's first goal of the year opened the scoring and Matt Calvert added a beauty on a 2-on-1 rush minutes later, capping a sequence of four total goals in the first 5:51 of the game. Kyle Chipchura broke the tie late in the first period, but there's plenty of game to be played. The Blue Jackets need to stay out of the box to keep their game plan intact: rolling four lines and keeping the pressure up.
4:45 P.M. --
Johnny's back! Check out today's interview with defenseman John Moore, courtesy of Jackets TV:
4:15 P.M. -- Comments with the coach from the morning skate: updates on injured players, lineup changes and what the Blue Jackets need to do tonight against Phoenix. Catch Todd Richards' post-skate scrum on Jackets TV:
3:30 P.M. -- Blue Jackets center Nick Drazenovic gets in the lineup tonight against Phoenix, and the Springfield Falcons' leading scorer chatted with Bob McElligott after today's morning skate:
3:00 P.M. --
The Blue Jackets defense pairs will get another switch up tonight: John Moore returns to the lineup after missing time with a lower body injury, and Cody Goloubef is likely to be a healthy scratch. James Wisniewski and wife Nicole welcomed a baby girl into the world late last night, so he remains home in Columbus with his family. It's possible he rejoins the team for Monday's game in Anaheim.
2:30 P.M. --
Artem Anisimov will not play this evening due to a lower body injury suffered last night in Los Angeles. He took a Jack Johnson slap shot off the boot and did not return, and though he was questionable to return, he's going to sit out this evening. Recently-recalled Nick Drazenovic takes his spot in the lineup and will play his fourth career NHL game.
2:15 P.M. --
Word from Glendale is that Steve Mason gets the start in goal for the Blue Jackets this evening. In his career against the Coyotes, Mason owns a record of 3-5-0 with a 3.15 goals against average and .897 save percentage.
2:00 P.M. --
Good afternoon and, as we always say on this blog, happy game day! The Blue Jackets are right back at it in just a few hours, taking on the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. Following last night's 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in which the Blue Jackets admittedly didn't play their best game, perhaps the perfect tonic is getting back on the ice less than 24 hours later.
hoenix has had its struggles so far this season, but Dave Tippett's club always comes ready to play and they'll be a motivated group tonight. Expect Mike Smith between the pipes for the Coyotes.
There will be some lineup changes for Columbus and we'll cover those as the day progresses. Keep it tuned to the blog and Jackets TV for all the updates and player interviews from Glendale.
Oh, by the way...it's not too early to Harlem shake, is it?