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Blue Jackets at Coyotes preview

Arizona tries to end four-game losing streak; Columbus 1-5-0 past six

by Alan Robinson / Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (29-20-3) at COYOTES (23-25-5)

9 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game

The Arizona Coyotes try to stop a four-game losing streak when they play the Columbus Blue Jackets at Gila River Arena on Thursday.

The Coyotes, who are 0-3-1 in their past four, have lost four in a row two other times this season (0-3-1 Nov. 17-25 and 0-4-0 Dec. 6-13).

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper will make his NHL career-high 29th start after not playing in a 5-2 loss at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday because of an upper-body injury. Kuemper is 6-1-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average in his past 10 starts.

The Blue Jackets lost a season-high five consecutive games before a 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has a three-game goal streak and nine points (seven goals, two assists) in his past 17 games.

Coyotes forward Derek Stepan has three goals in his past seven games and 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 21 games against Columbus.


They said it

"The biggest thing about the growth of our hockey team at this time of the year is we've got to put pressure on one another. The players have to put pressure on each other. Relish in the pressure, not be afraid of the pressure."-- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"[Artemi] Panarin is one of the highest-skilled guys in the league. [Seth] Jones is one of the top three or four defensemen. They've got high-end players, but they've got a workman-like attitude. They've got four lines that can play." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet on the Blue Jackets


Blue Jackets projected lines

Artemi Panarin -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno -- Boone Jenner -- Josh Anderson

Anthony Duclair -- Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Björkstrand

Markus Hannikainen -- Riley Nash - Lukas Sedlak

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Markus Nutivaara -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Dean Kukan

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Mark Letestu

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (lower body), Ryan Murray (lower body)


Coyotes projected lines

Nick Cousins -- Clayton Keller -- Alex Galchenyuk

Richard Panik -- Derek Stepan -- Vinnie Hinostroza 

Conor Garland -- Jordan Weal -- Christian Fischer

Lawson Crouse -- Mario Kempe -- Josh Archibald

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Alex Goligoski -- Jordan Oesterle

Kevin Connauton -- Kyle Capobianco

Darcy Kuemper

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Michael Bunting, Ilya Lyubushkin

Injured: Jason Demers (lower body), Jakob Chychrun (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Christian Dvorak (upper body), Michael Grabner (upper body), Brad Richardson (upper body), Antti Raanta (lower body)


Status report

Dubinsky returned to Columbus to get an MRI on an injured hip. … Murray will be a game-time decision. … Dvorak is skating with the team, but a return date has not been announced.… Chychrun, who hasn't played since Jan. 23, might return Saturday against Dallas.


Stat pack

Panarin has eight points (two goals, six assists) during a five-game point streak. He has 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in his past 18 games. … Atkinson has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past nine games. … Dubois has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … The Blue Jackets have allowed one goal in their opponents' 35 power-play opportunities since Dec. 31. … Fischer had his first career hat trick as Arizona won at Columbus 4-1 on Oct. 23. … Garland has two goals in his past four games and eight goals in his past 13 games.

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