BLUE JACKETS VS. COYOTESVote for the player of the game!
TUESDAY, 7 P.M.
FINAL (OT): JACKETS 4, COYOTES 3
POST GAME: Interviews from (click name to play) - RICHARDS | MACKENZIE | JOHNSON | JOHANSEN
WATCH: Ryan Johansen's game winner! | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Ryan Johansen wins it! | LISTEN
WATCH: Blake Comeau 3rd period goal | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Blake Comeau puts us ahead! | LISTEN
WATCH: 2nd period highlights | CLICK TO PLAY
GAME AUDIO: Jack Skille 1st intermission interview | LISTEN
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: A better, more energetic period there from the Blue Jackets and they started to take the game back with some heavy lifting in the Coyotes' zone. Mark Letestu tied the game at 5:25 of the second period after a nasty wrist shot from between the dots, capitalizing on a turnover created by Artem Anisimov down low. Columbus out-shot the Coyotes 11-7 in the second, and made a habit of getting bodies and traffic in front of Greiss. They'll need to continue that pattern into the third period with two huge points up for grabs.
WATCH: Mark Letestu 2nd period goal | CLICK TO PLAY
GAME AUDIO: Mark Letestu ties it up! | LISTEN
GAME AUDIO: John Davidson visits the radio booth for the first intermission | LISTEN
WATCH: 1st Period Highlights | CLICK TO PLAY
GAME AUDIO: Nathan Horton first intermission interview | LISTEN
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: A rather sleepy first period from the home team, and as a result, they allowed two unanswered goals late in the period to a dpeserate Phoenix team. Boone Jenenr got the Jackets going with his 15th goal of the season at the 8:15 mark, but the Coyotes roared back (pardon the pun, I think) to score twice in the final seven mintues of the frame. Martin Erat's goal was actually a reviewed call on the ice that was reversed (originally waved off) after it was determined that the puck completely crossed the line, and with 2:07 left in the period, Shane Doan got a piece of Michael Stone's shot from the point to beat Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets need to find their forecheck and get back to their game, because they lost in at times in the first period. Shots are 10-4 favoring Phoenix.
WATCH: Boone Jenner 1st period goal | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Boone Jenner gives us the lead in the first! | LISTEN
WATCH: Pre-game interviews from the CBJ morning skate (click name to play) - RICHARDS | LETESTU | SKILLE | TROPP
UPDATE (10:15 AM): Tonight's forward lines and defense pairs for the Blue Jackets...
Jenner - Johansen - Horton
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Comeau - Anisimov - Letestu
Tropp - MacKenzie - Boll
Tyutin - Wisniewski
Johnson - Prout
Murray - Savard
MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets begin their final week of the regular season, and it starts with a home game on Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes. The team is scheduled for a 10 a.m. morning skate, and we'll have complete coverage for you here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Coyotes, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets are banged up at forward (again), losing RJ Umberger for at least the next two weeks due to an upper body injury suffered in Sunday's win over the Islanders. But there may be some good news, too, in that Nathan Horton is expected to be a game-time decision (lower body) and could return after missing four games.
On defense, Nikita Nikitin was cleared to play two games ago after a lower body injury caused him to miss some time. The return of Ryan Murray helped the Jackets on the back end in the wake of that injury, but it has also made it more difficult to crack the lineup.
Between the pipes, Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start for the Blue Jackets.
There's been plenty of conversation outside the Blue Jackets dressing room regarding the closing stretch that faces them. But inside the room, the players and coaches are doing their best to keep the "one game at a time" approach intact.
Yes, the four games in five days to close out the regular season is unprecedented but there's nothing they can do about it, Richards said after practice on Monday. They know they will get fatigued at some point, but keeping them going is the fact that they control their own destiny when it comes to qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Adding intrigue to this game - and the next one on Wednesday night in Dallas - is that both Phoenix and the Stars are in a dead heat for the final wild card position in the Western Conference. So that's two desperate hockey teams in two win-at-all-costs games, which will be fun to watch and equally agonizing to follow if you've got a dog in the fight.
Step one is the Jackets' opponent on Tuesday night, a Coyotes team that has not played since Saturday and has spent the last couple of days in Columbus getting acclimated to the Eastern time zone. Despite being without No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith, the Coyotes have hung around and are getting quality netminding from backup Thomas Greiss, who's been waiting for an opportunity to show what he can do with more playing time.
The Blue Jackets might have Nathan Horton back in their lineup on Tuesday, but they're down another forward with Umberger's upper body injury. Umberger, who has bounced around the Jackets lineup this season, has been a productive guy once again (18 goals this season including a team-leading eight power play goals), but it opens the door for a guy like Jack Skille who has been playing very well in Springfield.
AT DALLAS STARS
WEDNESDAY, 8:30 P.M.
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER