directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Coyotes, winners of 2 straight, invade Nationwide

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Coyotes, winners of 2 straight, invade Nationwide

The 7-6 Phoenix Coyotes howl their way into Nationwide tonight riding a two game winning streak.

After a couple days rest from a brutal, yet highly successful, week the 7-6-2 Jackets will look to keep their points streak alive.

This is the second meeting of the season between these squads as earlier the Jackets were knocked off in Phoenix with a 3-1 loss. Hitch called 5 minutes of that game the worst 5 minutes of hockey this team has played.

Obviously the Jackets don't want to repeat that performance.

* Oli Jokinen is on a flat out tear for the 'yotes. In his last 6 games he's got 6g, 3a for 9 points. He's leading the 'yotes in overall scoring with 16p in 13g. Jackets must shut him down. They have to watch out for his one timer on the PP where he does a lot of damage -- its flat out dirty.

* Two things that would obviously help the Jackets: 1. Nash scores and 2. the PP scores.

* Mason just has to play like he's been playing. No softies and no "oh sh**" moments.

* Jackets have been a beast even strength which if the special teams continue to sputter will need to continues. That balanced scoring has been real nice as well.

* Coyotes have solid goaltending in Byzgalov and some real skill up front. In addition to Jokinen they've got Doan, Mueller and a rookie in Mikkel Boedker who is off to a nice start with his pro career with 5g and 2a. They have speed, some sandpaper to their games and can hurt you so the Jackets have to outwork this group.

* The Jackets have had some nice transition, puck management and energy the past few games. That must certainly continue.

* Interesting stat. The Jackets have scored 46 goals versus the 'yotes 32. However the Jackets have given up 49 to the 'yotes 32 which is 2nd best in the West. Tells you how strong defensively the Phoenix squad is - they don't give up a lot which we'll get to more in a bit.

* The Jackets are starting to get banged up again. Huselius, Methot, and Klesla are all questionable according to the Dispatch. Leclaire is still listed as "out". We could really use Huselius' offensive touch tonight and I'd hate to see Methot out as he's been playing excellent hockey on the backend and generating some critical 'o' back there. In fact he leads all Jackets d-men in goals with 3, is 4th in scoring with 5p in just 10 games and he's a +2.

* Some Coyotes players are struggling like pre-season calder candidate Kyle Turris (who has already been a healthy scratch this season), Ed Jovanovski who has just 2 points and is a -7 and Derek Morris who is a -4 with 1 point in 13 games. Don't let those guys break out tonight.

* Coyotes goaltender has faced the 12th most amount of shots in the league 334 in just 11 games played. The leader is Kiprusoff whose faced 477 with 16 games played. That tells me the 'yotes defense is suspect but Brygalov has been the equalizer. Jackets have got to out work him.

Couple of things for me tonight. I'd love to see Raffi Torres and Rick Nash get on the board with goals.... but more importantly is how/if the Jackets offense can outwork Byzgalov.

In a tight Western Conference every game means something this season. With 2 less games played the 'yotes sit just 2 points behind the Jackets. A key win tonight for the Jackets could provide some breathing room as they head to Buffalo on Friday night and then Minnesota (and no I haven't forgotten about that "reversal") on Saturday.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i SURE hope SHANE DOAN gets what he has coming to him from that flying elbow smash ( old school WWF style ) he gave to novotny last time they played ... ( with no call by the officials ) SHOCKER THERE HUH ?

and get another 2 big points out there hanging for us