Game 43 Preview: The Walking Dead on Friday the 13th

It remains undetermined whether or not Jason LaBarbara will turn in his blocker for a shiny new machete this evening. Image via barkspeed.s3.amazonaws.com

Phoenix Coyotes at Columbus Blue Jackets

January 13, 2012 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS FM 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Five For Howling

It's Friday the 13th, and the Blue Jackets are limping around like a winged, big-breasted camp counselor who twisted her ankle simply running away from the danger. Will the speed-walking Phoenix Coyotes play the role of Jason and finish them off? Or will the Jackets be the one victim who defies the odds and staves off death for another episode?

OK, sorry, that was a lame allusion that I took just a little too far. Seriously, though, with newly injured R.J. Umberger suffering from a concussion, here's the Blue Jackets' injury list for tonight: D James Wisniewski (left ankle), D Radek Martinek (concussion), LW Kristian Huselius (groin), LW R.J. Umberger (concussion), C Mark Letestu (right hand) and C Jeff Carter (right shoulder), out.

So, who did the Jackets recall to take Umberger's spot? No doubt it was some offense. What? Dane Byers. FML.

Holy [bleep] that's gruesome. Adding some "chchch-ahahah" to this matchup is the cabal of former Jackets wearing the Coyotes' sweater tonight looking to drive the spear into the heart of their former team: Ray Whitney, Raffi Torres, Rostislav Klesla, and newly claimed Gilbert Brule.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(11-25-5, 27 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

(Lines based on Shawn Mitchell's morning lines Tweet)

Vinny Prospal Derick Brassard Rick Nash
Ryan Johansen Antoine Vermette Tomas Kubalik
Ryan Russell Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Dane Byers Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot John Moore
Grant Clitsome David Savard
Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

Phoenix Coyotes
(20-17-7, 47 Points; 4th Division, 11th Conference)

Mikkel Boedker Daymond Langkow Shane Doan
Ray Whitney Kyle Chipchura Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt Gilbert Brule Lauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres Boyd Gordon Paul Bissonnette
Keith Yandle Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla Michal Rozsival
Jason LaBarbera
Mike Smith

Season Series

01/13/12 - Phoenix at Columbus
03/03/12 - Columbus at Phoenix
03/06/12 - Phoenix at Columbus
04/03/12 - Columbus at Phoenix

By The Numbers

Scoring
PHX - 2.48 G/G (23rd)
CBJ - 2.33 G/G (27th)

Defense
PHX - 2.51 GA/G (9th)
CBJ - 3.29 GA/G (28th)

Power Play
PHX - 12.9% (30th)
CBJ - 14.1% (25th)

Penalty Kill
PHX - 83.6% (9th)
CBJ - 76.4% (29th)

Game Notes:

  • Strugglin' - The Coyotes haven't been playing a ton better than the Jackets of late, with just two wins in their last 10 games (2-4-4).
  • Road Woes - To go along with that, part of the issue for the Yotes is that this will be their 10th road game in their last 13 games, in which they've criss-crossed the country twice (roadies in Florida and Carolina, back home with some roadies in the Mountain and Pacific zones, and then back across to the Big Apple). Good thing the NHLPA vetoed that realignment proposal!
  • Power Outage - The Jackets have sucked on the Power Play for a long stretch recently. Coming to town is the league's worst PP unit from Phoenix. Combines, the two clubs have three PPG in their last 47 chances (6.4%). Good times!

The game isn't unwinnable for the Jackets, but to win they'll have to get some offense going somehow. Hopefully Todd Richards has had a chance to impart some changes to the system that will make it a little more his own and perhaps free up some offense.

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