BLUE JACKETS 1 | COYOTES 4
James Wisniewski Post Game
Brandon Dubinsky Post Game
Todd Richards Post Game
ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets brought the game level with a power play goal 40 seconds into the middle frame, but they really struggled to get anything going after that. Arizona has had a good grasp on the game to this point, making smart decisions on the breakout and managing the puck fairly well through the first 40 minutes. James Wisniewski's bomb from the center point briefly made it a 1-1 game before the Coyotes scored two power play goals of their own less than three minutes apart. First it was Oliver Ekman-Larsson with his 15th of the season (leading all NHL defensemen), then Shane Doan whipped a backhander inside the post at 5:19 to turn a tie game into a 3-1 Arizona lead. The Jackets have plenty of work ahead in the third period, but they'll need to kill off 38 seconds of power play time for Arizona to start it off. Shots are 27-19 favoring the visitors.
James Wisniewski Goal
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: Tonight's game did not feature an ideal start for the Blue Jackets, but they picked it up later in the first period and will open the second period on the power play. Arizona dominated the first few minutes, at one point holding a 10-2 edge in shots and owning the puck at 5-on-5. Brandon Dubinsky sensed the deck being stacked against his team, and tried to shift the momentum by dropping the gloves with Kyle Chipchura midway through the first. From there, the Jackets were much better and played with a lot more energy - and they had a considerable number of chances in the final 10 minutes of the period. Nothing yet past Mike Smith, though, who faced 10 shots and is seeking his second win over Columbus in as many appearances this season. Shots are 14-10 Arizona.
First Period Highlights
Kevin Connauton Pregame
Jack Skille Pregame
Todd Richards Pregame
UPDATE (11:05 AM): Todd Richards confirmed that Anton Forsberg will be in net for the Jackets.
UPDATE (10:45 AM): Kevin Connauton said after the morning skate that he's never played forward before, besides skating on a forward line in a few practices last year in Dallas.
"It's positioning," said Connauton when asked what the biggest adjustment will be for him. "As a defenseman when you have the puck, you know where the forwards are going to be. It's a different mentality when you're a forward without the puck and you need to figure out where your spot is. I'll do a little systems review with the coaches before tonight's game."
UPDATE (10:15 AM): Here are the lines and pairings from this morning's skate...
- Matt Calvert was absent from the morning skate. He missed practice yesterday while still battling an illness that kept him out against the Lightning. With Calvert out, Richards again used a lineup with seven defensemen for the morning skate.
- Jordan Leopold spent time on the fourth line in Tampa Bay, but tonight it appears Kevin Connauton will take a crack at a forward role. Leopold appears to be staying in the lineup, however, paired with James Wisniewski. Dalton Prout and Cody Goloubef were paired together for drills this morning.
- It looks like Anton Forsberg will get the start in goal. It's his third appearance of the season and his first since November 8th. He is in search of his first NHL win.
Hey guys! We're home!
The Blue Jackets are back from their two-day swing in Florida without the four points they wanted, but they're right back to work on Tuesday to host the visiting Arizona Coyotes. It's the first game of a short two-game home stand with the Blues coming to Nationwide Arena on Friday night.
It's the second meeting of the season between the Jackets and Coyotes. The Coyotes took the first contest 6-3 in Arizona, a four point-game for Martin Hanzal and a two-goal night for Sam Gagner. The Coyotes only have three wins since that game, with two of them coming since Thursday.
Here are a few pre-morning skate nuggets to chew on:
- The Jackets were still carrying nine defenseman at practice on Monday afternoon, and Jordan Leopold was taking line rushes as a forward. A move could be made to address the glut of defensemen, but at the moment it appears the Jackets are prepared to go into Tuesday night with the same roster they used in Tampa.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson will make his second visit to Columbus in less than two weeks after participating in the All-Star festivities. Ekman-Larsson leads all defensemen with 14 goals and he has two in his last three games.
- It's been a tremendous season for Nick Foligno, but he does currently find himself in his longest dry spell of the season. Foligno has only one goal in his last 14 games. Of course, Foligno has still been a productive player. He has 13 assists over that same stretch.
- Tuesday night will be a homecoming for Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy. The sophomore defenseman and first-round pick in 2011 is a Dublin native and a product of the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets program. Murphy has three goals and six points this season. It will be his first NHL game in Columbus.