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Coyotes Game 17 Preview: Coyotes return home to face Blue Jackets with momentum

The Arizona Coyotes are looking for their third win of the season as they faceoff the host the Columbus Blue Jackets in a season-opener rematch.

Arizona Coyotes v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes are back from a three-game road trip with their second win of the season after beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in regulation. The Coyotes managed to put all of it together once, but will they find a way to do it again?

Luckily for the Coyotes, they did a lot of repeatable things against the Blues. They found a way to score on the power play, avoided taking too many penalties, and responded well after giving up a goal.

Tonight’s game will be another big opportunity for the Coyotes younger players. Barrett Hayton and Kyle Capobianco scored in Tuesday’s game and spent last season with the Tucson Roadrunners.

With a slew of Coyotes injuries, the team has called up Ben McCartney, Jan Jeník, and Hudson Fasching, with Fasching and Jeník both making their season debuts against the Blues. Additionally, Cam Dineen and Dysin Mayo both started the season with the Roadrunners and played against the Blues.

With the Coyotes dealing with so many injuries, the younger players will have a chance to step up and show what they can do. They probably won’t spend the rest of the season, but they need to play hard and make it a hard decision to send them down. A rebuild gives plenty of opportunities for younger players, and now is a perfect chance to show what they can do.

The Columbus Blue Jackets started the season with an 8-1 victory of the Arizona Coyotes at home. However, since then, results have been mixed.

They come into tonight’s game having beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 on Monday. Before that, they dropped a back-to-back against the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers.

Columbus is currently sixth in the Metro, a point behind the New Jersey Devils and two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers. But they have a game in hand and could leapfrog both teams into a wild card spot.

Luckily for the Coyotes, the Blue Jackets may be without a few pieces from their 8-1 win to start the season. Patrik Laine, who had two assists in the game, is expected to be out until mid-December with an oblique injury, and Max Domi is currently in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Domi had three points in the first matchup and missed the Blue Jackets’ last game against the Detroit Red Wings; however, he did participate in the morning skate.

But even if the Blue Jackets are missing those two, they still have plenty of offensive weapons.

After being re-acquired in the offseason for Cam Atkinson, Jakub Voracek has been very good. He currently has a six-game point streak, leads the Blue Jackets in assists, and is second in points.

The Blue Jackets have also been getting solid goaltending from Elvis Merzlikins. Merzlikins has started eight games this season and boasts a 2.49 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Barrett Hayton - Hayton’s two goals in the Coyotes’ last game were huge and were a nice reward for solid play since being called up. It would be great if Hayton could get hot and have his breakthrough rookie season.

Columbus: Oliver Bjorkstrand - Bjorkstrand had two goals and two assists the last time these two teams met and currently leads the Blue Jackets with 15 points.

Injuries

Arizona: Anton Strålman (questionable, lower body), Johan Larsson (COVID-19 protocol), Andrew Ladd (COVID-19 protocol), Christian Fischer (upper body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (upper body), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (lower body), Ryan Dzingel (upper body)

Columbus: Patrik Laine (oblique), Maxi Domi (COVID-19 protocol), Dean Kukan (wrist), Emil Bemstrom (oblique)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at Gila River Arena at 7:00 pm and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 620 AM.