Tonight, the Blue Jackets play their final home game before hitting the road for an all important five-game road trip over the next 11 days.
That said, the Jackets to a man know how important tonight's game is as they host the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes have won nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams and five straight here at Nationwide Arena. But that was the old Blue Jackets, this team right now has a quiet confidence and they are ready for the contest against a Coyotes team that had their eight-game winning streak abruptly snapped Wednesday night in Tampa, losing 8-3.
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett is well aware of the Jackets recent play, commenting on their improved power play (two power play goals in each of their last two starts) and the need for his club to play hard, play smart and disciplined in tonight's game.
As for Jackets coach Scott Arniel, he states the Coyotes are not unlike Nashville and they have a veteran lineup, a group of solid players that play a patient game and have been in a playoff race before (last season). Arniel went on to say, "we need to keep doing the things we have been doing, play a full 60-minutes and stay focused on the game at hand." In other words, forget about the pending road trip and focus strictly on tonight's game.
Tonight's lineup should be the same one that blanked Nashville 4-0 Tuesday. Steve Mason will be in goal again for the Blue Jackets. Mason is 6-1-0 in his last seven starts with a 1.58 goals against average and .949 save percentage. Ilya Bryzgalov will start for the Coyotes. Bryzgalov has won a career best eight games in a row, having sat out the game in Tampa the other night after starting 19 in a row.
Tonight's game is in HD at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio. Good seats remain if you'd like to join us at Nationwide tonight, it should be another exciting night at the Arena.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - Rimer's Game Day Ramblings. The Columbus Blue Jackets' television play-by-play man will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.