The Blue Jackets in a stretch currently of six of eight away from the friendly confines, play the first of the two home games as they host the red-hot Coyotes at Nationwide Arena tonight. As today's headline states, Mathieu Garon gets the start. Garon shutout the Coyotes in their home opener back in early October and has three shutouts in 10 career starts against Phoenix.
I should mention this is not the same Coyotes team Garon faced in turning aside 36 shots! They have, in my mind, become one of the league's surprise teams! They are tied for the second best winning percentage in the Conference, are 7-1-1 and have used the talk of the summer bankruptcy, the threat of a move from Phoenix and all the other uncertainty of the franchise as a rallying point inside the dressing room. They also have had outstanding goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov who is 19-9-2 with a 2.02 GAA and a .926 save percentage although he will not get the start. Jason LaBarbera, who recorded the win here in Columbus for Phoenix, will get the start tonight. There will be no other lineup changes for the locals.
Coach Hitchcock in addressing the media after today's morning skate again stated... "It's my job to get this team to compete at a higher level 5-on-5." Adding, it's not about the young guys it's about the five guys on the ice at one time getting it done!
The Blue Jackets are winless in their last four. Tuesday's effort in the coach's mind was much better, but the last minute goal was a killer. After a day off, following the five games in seven nights, he's hoping his team can put a solid 60-minute effort together tonight.
Game time is 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio and yes we are again in HD!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac", "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.