Series (Game 3 of 4)

Columbus leads 3-1

Game 1: Friday, January 13th
Blue Jackets4
Game 2: Saturday, March 3rd
Blue Jackets5Final
Game 3: Tuesday, March 6th
Blue Jackets3
Game 4: Tuesday, April 3rd
Blue Jackets0Final

Coyotes 2

(33-25-9, 75 pts)

Blue Jackets 3

(21-38-7, 49 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 6, 2012

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
ARI 1 1 02
CBJ 2 1 03

J. Johnson (Blue Jackets - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

S. Mason (Blue Jackets - G): Saves: 38, Save Pct.: .950

D. MacKenzie (Blue Jackets - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Coyotes-Blue Jackets Preview


The turn of the calendar to March hasn't been kind to the Phoenix Coyotes.

The visiting Coyotes will try to avoid a four-game slide Tuesday night as well as a third defeat to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

Phoenix (33-24-9) went 11-0-1 in February to gain the Pacific Division lead but has dropped all three games in March. The Coyotes are still tied with Dallas for first place, with San Jose two points back and Los Angeles three.

Captain Shane Doan felt his club's effort in Monday's 2-1 defeat at Pittsburgh was better than it was in home losses last week to Calgary and Columbus (20-38-7). The Coyotes outshot the Penguins 25-17 over the final two periods.

"The last two games we weren't very happy, and tonight we played closer to where we need to and if we play like that, we like our chances," Doan said. "We just got to find ways to bury the puck."

Phoenix has lost both times it has faced Columbus, which is seeking its first three-game win streak since Feb. 18-25, 2011. The Blue Jackets have not played since Saturday's 5-2 road win over the Coyotes, outscoring them 3-0 in the third period.

"They're a team that's in the race that wants to make the playoffs," Columbus captain Rick Nash said. "It's tough when you play teams back to back, they're going to be coming out full steam and it should be another fun game."

Nash, who had requested a trade from the league's worst team, has three goals and one assist in the season series after a spectacular performance in Arizona on Saturday. He had a short-handed goal, one at even strength and an assist on Derick Brassard's goal.

"He's our captain, he's our best player," Brassard said. "Hopefully he's going to stick around us next year. I don't know what's going to happen but from what I see right now he's just a guy who wants to play and show us the way."

The Coyotes fell behind after one period in that contest and have conceded the first goal in six of their last seven games.

"We've been chasing the game it seems every single night from the last four or five," Doan said. "The last three cost us."

Mike Smith lost his third straight start Monday after winning his previous 11. He's surrendered 11 goals in dropping three in a row to Columbus while backup Jason LaBarbera has a career 1.70 goals-against average versus the Blue Jackets.

Steve Mason has won consecutive games for the first time this season after his 30-save effort Saturday. He has earned victories in his last two starts against the Coyotes after dropping his first four.

Former Blue Jackets winger Ray Whitney scored for the fourth time in five games Monday and continues to lead the Coyotes with 60 points. Antoine Vermette has no points in his first six games with Phoenix ahead of his return to Nationwide Arena for the first time since being acquired from Columbus on Feb. 22.