NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 16th (All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (4-8-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (6-6-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes managed to pick up four points on their recent three-game road trip despite technically getting shut out twice on the swing.
The goals haven't come in waves for the Coyotes minus an early-season meeting with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who Phoenix will host on Saturday night in its return to the desert.
The Coyotes failed to score a goal in regulation and overtime in the opener of their swing at San Jose on Feb. 9, but escaped town with a 1-0 shootout win. Following an overtime win at Colorado, Phoenix was blanked 3-0 in Nashville on Thursday.
Mike Smith did not allow a goal through the first two periods, but was beaten three times in the third frame while making 26 saves in all. Phoenix failed to get any of its 19 shots by the Predators' Pekka Rinne.
"It was a tight game. You thought the first team that scored was going to have a big advantage, and that's exactly how it turned out," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We had some opportunities, actually had some good setup time, but the pucks we were getting to the net weren't dangerous pucks."
Tippett's club had won four of its previous five and lost defenseman Derek Morris to an upper body injury versus Nashville. Morris is day-to-day.
The Coyotes have scored more than three goals just three times this season, getting a season-high output on Jan. 23 in a 5-1 win over the visiting Blue Jackets. Steve Sullivan notched a hat trick and blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored twice with an assist.
Smith started the game, but left after 11 minutes with a groin injury. Jason LaBarbera made 21 saves to get the win in relief.
Phoenix picked up its second straight win over Columbus and has won seven of the past nine meetings at home in this series.
The Blue Jackets play the second of a six-game road trip on Saturday and began the swing with Friday's 2-1 setback in Los Angeles. Columbus was held to just 13 shots and was shorthanded five times in the game.
"We didn't win a lot of battles tonight," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "We spent too much time in the defensive zone. We didn't have the full commitment for 60 minutes."
Nick Foligno scored with 2:25 left in regulation and Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves in defeat, the Blue Jackets' sixth in their past eight games. They have also lost four of their five road games this season.
While defenseman Adrian Aucoin was activated from injured reserve prior to the game, center Artem Anisimov left with a lower body injury and his status for this contest is unknown.
It is also unknown if blueliner James Wisniewski will rejoin the team after staying in Columbus with his wife while awaiting the birth of the couple's first child. Wisniewski announced the birth of his daughter, who was born shortly after midnight Saturday, on Twitter.
02/16 10:29:53 ET