Blue Jackets-Coyotes Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (17-30-8-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (19-23-14-3).
TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Columbus Blue Jackets look to snap an eight-game road winless streak in
a place they've never won when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes.
Columbus has won just three of its 27 road games this season, and is winless
in its last eight away from home (0-5-3) after falling 3-1 to the Anaheim
Mighty Ducks on Wednesday.
The Blue Jackets haven't won on the road since a 3-2 overtime victory over
the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 8.
"Obviously, we're not happy with our road record (3-18-4-2), but there are
a lot of encouraging signs these last 15 road games," Columbus goaltender Marc
Denis said after Wednesday's loss.
"It's kind of a weird situation. We're playing the best road hockey we've
played in four years as a franchise, but we just don't seem to be able to do
what we do at home. We're a pretty confident and comfortable team at home and
we're getting the wins. But when we get on the road, it's close, but no cigar -
Columbus will be trying to end its slide in Phoenix, where it is 0-4-3 since
joining the NHL for the 2000-01 season.
The Coyotes, however, have struggled on their home ice. Phoenix is 9-12-4-2
at home and only 3-8-2-1 at the new Glendale Arena, where it plays its next
Phoenix is coming off a two-game road trip, losing 4-2 to the St. Louis
Blues and 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. The Coyotes have won just one of their
last 11 contests (1-8-1-1) to fall 10 points out of the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We have to find a way to get the job done at home," Phoenix coach Bob
Francis said. "If we maintain our work ethic, eventually the results will turn
in our favor, but we need to have a solid homestand starting on Friday."
The Coyotes are 2-0-2 in their last four games against the Blue Jackets.
STANDINGS (through Feb. 18): Blue Jackets - 46 points, 4th place, 32 PB,
Central Division. Coyotes - 55 points, 5th place, 17 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 31 goals and 42 points; Todd
Marchant, 21 assists; Jody Shelley, 166 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 24 goals;
Shane Doan, 38 assists and 59 points; Andrei Nazarov, 94 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 18): Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.4 percent (43
for 299), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (193 for 232), 21st.
Coyotes - Power play: 15.3 percent (39 for 255), 20th. Penalty killing: 81.6
percent (240 for 294), 25th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (15-25-7, 3 SO, 2.47 GAA); Pascal Leclaire
(no appearances). Coyotes - Brian Boucher (9-10-7, 5, 2.41); Jean-Marc
Pelletier (no appearances).
SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 1-0-2.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 2; 3-3. At Phoenix, David Vyborny converted a penalty
shot and Anders Eriksson scored twice as the Blue Jackets rallied twice to earn
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 3-18-4-2 on the road; Coyotes - 9-12-4-2