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Game Preview: Arizona Coyotes at Columbus Blue Jackets

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Here’s what you need to know.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Coyotes at Columbus Blue Jackets
Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Five For Howling

Arizona Coyotes, 7-19-5, 19 points, 8th Pacific, 15th West
@
Columbus Blue Jackets,

Stats Preview

Arizona Columbus
2.35 (30) GPG 2.75 (24)
3.51 (31) GAPG 2.46 (3)
17.52% (23) PP% 8.64% (31)
80.95% (14) PK% 84.05% (4)
47.02% (28) EV Corsi % 52.80% (4)
97.8 (29) EV PDO 100.3 (16)
Clayton Keller, 11 G Leader Josh Anderson, 10
Max Domi, 15 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 18
Clayton Keller, 23 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 25
Jason Demers, 23 PIM Leader David Savard and Nick Foligno, 16
4-11-4 Home / Road 10-5-1
4-4-2 Last 10 7-3-0

Probable Lineups

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Josh Anderson
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Booner Jenner Lukas Sedlak Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Scott Harrington Markus Hannikainen
Joonas Korpisalo
Sergei Bobrovsky
Arizona Coyotes
Tobias Rieder Derek Stepan Clayton Keller
Max Domi Christian Dvorak Christian Fischer
Brendan Perlini Dylan Strome Anthony Duclair
Jordan Martinook Brad Richardson Zac Rinaldo
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Jason Demers
Jakob Chychrun Kevin Connauton
Kyle Capobianco Luke Schenn
Scott Wedgewood
Mark Langhamer

Preview

Tonight has become a must win in Nationwide Arena. After two absolutely terrible games in a row against the New Jersey Devils, the Columbus Blue Jackets play host to the cellar dwelling Arizona Coyotes. If the Blue Jackets want to be taken seriously as playoff contenders (forget winning a round right now, getting back in is the goal), then tonight is a game this team has to win, and win decisively. Columbus is on paper the far better team (power play notwithstanding), but are in their own heads at this point. To get back on track, a big win tonight would be huge.

Wrote that at first intermission. Turns out, Artemi Panarin decided to will the CBJ back to victory on the back of his wonderful playmaking ability. Tonight becomes a must win to maintain supremacy at the top of the Metro. Naturally, the Blue Jackets will do their very best to make this harder than is necessary. The team appears to be overthinking everything on the ice, not letting the game come to them, and playing themselves out of position. To wit:

Ryan Murray is missed more severely than any of us could have ever predicted. Guys like Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson, and ESPECIALLY Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner are just passengers on this team at this point. Atkinson has fewer points than a guy currently in the AHL “working on his game.” The second leading goal scorer on the team is a 20 year old defenseman. The leading goal scorer held out of camp for a contract and missed the first two games of the season. Even Sergei Bobrovsky has looked exceedingly mortal of late.

Things are inconsistent night in and night out, and time is running out to fix what ails this team. The Metro is so tight, and an extended losing streak could put the team in a hole they do not look currently capable of digging out of, given the maddening play from the not-top-line-and-defensive-pairing on a night to night basis. Tonight gives the team a chance to right the ship. Let’s get it done

Maybe Artem Panarin will carry this team to the playoffs on his back. He and Z are the best players on the team and it’s not even up for discussion. Those two will carry the team to whatever heights they hope to reach. Onward.

Also, pardon my French: Artemi Panarin is the fucking scariest offensive player this team has ever had. I hope he smashes all comers till the end of the season.

Go Jackets.