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Game #27 Preview: Will the Jackets inconsistent scoring be enough to beat the Coyotes?

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We’ll see.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Five For Howling

Columbus Blue Jackets (11-11-4, 7th Metro, 13th Eastern)

vs.

Arizona Coyotes (15-9-4, 2nd Pacific, 4th Western)

The Jackets return home to Nationwide Arena tonight after a disappointing 0-2 shutout loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday. The Jackets’ season-long struggle to score goals at least somewhat consistently is not going to get any easier against the Coyotes — they will be face-to-face with one of the best goalies in the league, Darcy Kuemper.

However, the Coyotes have faced offensive struggles from their own in the last month. Here’s an excerpt from Five For Howling’s November recap of the team: “They also had difficulties against some of the worst teams in the league. They lost twice to the Minnesota Wild and once to the Columbus Blue Jackets, all teams near the bottom of their divisions.”

Nice!

Hindering the Jackets is the loss of Zach Werenski for the next four weeks, who left the ice on Saturday’s game after a hard collision with Anders Lee. The good news is that Markus Nutivaara was practicing yesterday and is healing at an opportune time to strengthen the defense in Z’s absence.

Player to Watch:

The top three I’m going to depend on to score are Pierre-Luc Dubois, Gustav Nyquist, and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Gus and Bjorkstrand have been on fire as of late (minus Saturday) and PLD is gritty and nearly always finds a way to score.

The Other Bench

Despite being fourth in their conference, Arizona has dealt with some inconsistencies and surprising losses this season as well (see reference above to Arizona losing to Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, two teams in the bottom of their respective divisions). Kuemper is posting a .935 save percentage and their alternate Antti Raanta is not far behind with a .924 save percentage. For perspective, Joonas Korpisalo is at .902 and Elvis Merzlikins is at .895.

Season Series

11/7/2019 CBJ 3 @ ARI 2
12/3/2019 ARI @ CBJ

Stats

Coyotes Columbus
2.64 (28) GPG 2.54 (25)
2.32 (2) GAPG 3.04 (19)
18.3% (19) PP% 20.5% (11)
81.3% (15) PK% 81.3% (16)
49.85% (17) 5v5 Corsi % 47.22% (3)
51.71% (23) 5v5 Fenwick % 47.40% (5)
7.6 (24) 5v5 Shot % 6.5 (29)
.942 (1) 5v5 Save % .918 (15)
Conor Garland,
10
G Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois,
10
Nick Schmaltz,
15
A Leader Seth Jones,
12
Nick Schmaltz
20
P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, Gustav Nyquist, 18
Jakob Chychrun,
16
PIM Leader Boone Jenner,
20
5-3-2 Last 10 5-4-1

Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets

Gustav Nyquist Boone
Jenner
Oliver Bjorkstand
Sonny Milano Pierre-Luc Dubois Josh Anderson
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Emil Bemstrom
Alexandre Texier Riley
Nash
Cam Atkinson
Vladislav Gavrikov Seth Jones
Ryan Murray David Savard
Scott Harrington Dean Kukan
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

Arizona Coyotes

Clayton Keller Derek Stepan Vinnie Hinostraza
Christian Dvorak Nick Schmaltz Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse Carl Soderberg Phil Kessel
Michael Grabner Brad Richardson Christian Fischer
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Jason Demers
Jakob Chychrun Alex Goligoski
Jordan Oesterle Ilya Lyubushkin
Darcy Kuemper
Antti Raanta