Series (Game 2 of 4)

Arizona leads 3-1

Game 1: Tuesday, January 4th
Blue Jackets2Final
Game 2: Tuesday, January 11th
Blue Jackets3
Game 3: Friday, February 25th
Blue Jackets5
Game 4: Thursday, March 24th
Blue Jackets0Final

Coyotes 4

(21-13-9, 51 pts)

Blue Jackets 3

(20-20-3, 43 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 11, 2011

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
ARI 0 2 24
CBJ 2 1 03

M. Hanzal (Coyotes - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

D. Morris (Coyotes - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Klesla (Blue Jackets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Coyotes-Blue Jackets Preview


With three wins in their last four games, the Phoenix Coyotes seem to have put last month's struggles behind them.

They have a good chance to continue their improved play Tuesday night against a struggling Columbus Blue Jackets team at Nationwide Arena.

Phoenix (20-13-9) went 6-6-2 in December, closing the month by losing four of six while scoring one goal in four straight games.

This month has been much kinder to the Coyotes, who improved to 3-0-2 in January with Monday night's 4-3 victory at St. Louis. Phoenix overcame two one-goal deficits, getting the winning goal from Taylor Pyatt with 3:12 remaining after Kyle Turris tied it midway through the third period.

It was the third time in five games that Phoenix scored at least four goals. That offense has come without any help from the power play, which is 0 for 19 in the last eight games.

The Coyotes, though, haven't needed to be spectacular offensively against the Blue Jackets, holding them to two or fewer goals in each of the last 11 meetings, including a 4-2 victory last Tuesday. Phoenix has won four straight and eight of the past nine matchups.

Jason LaBarbera made 33 saves Monday and could start again against the Blue Jackets. No. 1 goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has missed nine of the last 13 games for a variety of reasons, including a family medical issue and his own illness.

If LaBarbera starts again, he'll be looking to win his fourth straight against Columbus, although it's been over a year since he last faced the team. Bryzgalov was the winning goaltender in last week's game.

The Blue Jackets' offensive struggles against the Coyotes don't bode well for a team coming off a frustrating road trip during which they were outscored 20-7 in four straight losses. They also return home having to deal with several personnel issues, including the loss of starting goaltender Steve Mason.

Mathieu Garon started Saturday's 6-4 loss to Los Angeles after Mason suffered a groin injury in Friday's 6-0 defeat to Anaheim. He is expected to be out until the weekend.

Garon is 0-4 with a 5.64 goals-against average in his last five appearances. He has lost three straight against Phoenix, including last week's meeting.

Columbus is also trying to accommodate veteran defenseman Mike Commodore's request for a trade. He has cleared waivers and has been sent to the minor leagues while the team figures how to move him and his large contract.

The Blue Jackets are near the bottom of the Western Conference, but are hopeful they can turn things around.

"This next month of hockey is crucial, it's important to set us up for a push," forward R.J. Umberger said. "We need to be focused and give it everything we've got and win some hockey games."

Columbus has started a calendar year with four straight losses for the first time in the franchise's 10-year history.