Mar. 3, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard (16) and Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival (32) battle for the puck along the boards during the third period at Jobing.com Arena. The Blue Jackets won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
The Phoenix Coyotes get little time to lick their wounds after losing their third straight game on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Tonight they are in Columbus to take on the team who accounted for one of the other losses in the streak, the Blue Jackets. The Coyotes are now 0-2 against the worst team in the NHL. A team in the fight to make the playoffs like Phoenix can't afford to be giving away points to lesser competition. The Coyotes looked much better late in the game last night than they had in their previous two losses, so hopefully that is a sign of things to come tonight.
Five For Winning
1. Score First. The Coyotes have put themselves in a hole in 1st periods lately. The trend needs to stop.
2. Someone not named Whitney needs to step up. The Wizard has been consistent whether the Yotes are winning or losing. He potted another goal last night. His teammates need to pick up the slack.
3. Draw penalties. Columbus has the worst penalty kill in the league. Even the Yotes power play should be able to score in this game.
4. Don't get caught up in the homecoming. This will be Antoine Vermette's first game in Columbus since he was traded last month. In addition Gilbert Brule and Raffi Torres spent time in a Jacket's sweater as well. All three players need to just come out and play their games. Vermette is the most likely to feel the pressure given the timing and the fact he hasn't scored since he became a Coyote.
5. Make Mason miserable. The Yotes need to crash the net and screen the Blue Jacket's netminder as much as possible. With Brett Ledba and Jack Johnson on the Columbus blueline, getting to the front of the net shouldn't be a problem.
|2011 - Lauri Korpikoski||66||14||17||31||6||12||0||3||3||119|
The Korpedo has 4 points in the two games the teams have played so far this season. His speed seems to give Columbus fits. A payback shortie wouldn't hurt tonight.
|2011 - Derick Brassard||57||12||18||30||-19||30||4||0||2||95|
Brassard scored the game winning goal the last time the team's met at Nationwide Arena and like Korpikoski he has 4 points in the two games the team's have faced one another. In addition, he has points in 6 of the Jacket's last 8 games.
Likely Starting Goalies
|2011 - Jason LaBarbera||16||835||3||7||36||2.59||408||372||.912||0|
The Coyotes need their backup netminder to have the game of his season tonight.
|2011 - Steve Mason||36||2028||10||22||113||3.34||1035||922||.891||1|
Columbus' starting goalie has had a rough season, though you couldn't tell it when the two teams squared off on Saturday night.
Phoenix Coyotes Injuries
Columbus Blue Jackets Injuries
For more information on the Blue Jackets head over to The Cannon.