Game Preview #15 - Win It For George

Jackets' radio play-by-play man George Matthews will call his 1,000th NHL game tonight in Glendale as the Blue Jackets face off with the Coyotes.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Phoenix Coyotes

February 16, 2013 - 8:00pm EST Arena - Glendale, Arizona
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Five for Howling
SBNation Game Page

The Jackets didn't look like the polished, aggressive team we saw last weekend last night. They looked sloppy, they looked rusty, and they couldn't get much of anything going offensively. Well, they get a chance to right the ship tonight in the desert, as they're right back at it in Phoenix.

The Coyotes have been all over the map, winning two of three on the road but losing the last game of their trip on Thursday 3-0 in Nashville. Their Power Play is struggling of late, and that's good news for the Jackets who have been good on the kill all season long. However, after a stretch of solid play on the Power Play, the Jackets looked dreadful last night with the extra skater.

I'm guessing Steve Mason gets the start, considering it's a road back-to-back, and I'm also thinking we may see the return of John Moore as well as the Jackets debut of Nick Drazenovic, as Artem Anisimov left last night's game with a lower body injury after taking a shot off the ankle.

Finally, I think it's important to note that tonight is George Matthews' 1,000th game behind the microphone for the Blue Jackets. George has been with us from the beginning, and has seen it all. He'll be honored at home on February 26th for reaching this milestone. Kudos for all of it, George!

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(4-8-2, 10 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Derek Dorsett
Vinny Prospal Nick Drazenovic Mark Letestu
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Nick Foligno
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Jack Johnson Cody Goloubef
John Moore Adrian Aucoin
Steve Mason
Sergei Bobrovsky

Phoenix Coyotes
(6-6-2, 14 Points; 4th Division, 9th Conference)

Steve Sullivan Antoine Vermette Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker Martin Hanzal Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski Boyd GordonMatthew Lombardi David Moss
Raffi Torres Kyle Chipchura Chad Johnson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson David Rundblad
Keith Yandle Derek Morris
Zbynek Michalek Rostislav Klesla
Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Season Series

01/23/13 - Columbus 1 at Phoenix 5
02/16/13 - Columbus at Phoenix
03/16/13 - Phoenix at Columbus

Head to Head

Phoenix Columbus
2.43 (23) GPG 2.14 (28)
2.64 (16) GAPG 3.00 (22)
17.9% (17) PP% 14.3% (25)
83.0% (12) PK% 83.3% (9)
Martin Hanzal, 5 G leader Mark Letestu, 5
Radim Vrbata, 8 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 9
Radim Vrbata, 11 Pts leader Fedor Tyutin, 10
Kyle Chipchura, 32 PIM leader Jared Boll, 65
4-3-1 Home/Road 1-4-0
2/14 @ Nashville, L 3-0 Last Game 2/15 @ Los Angeles, L 2-1
5-3-2 Last 10 3-6-1

Game Notes

  • Former Jackets - We should get to see the full complement tonight, now that Raffi Torres is back from his suspension. Antoine Vermette has been getting top-line duty of late, with Torres playing on the energy line and Klesla playing on the third pairing.
  • Stop Sully - The Jackets got torched by Steve Sullivan last time around, as he netted a hat trick. For his career, Sullivan has 19G, 29A, and is +20 in 48 games against Columbus. Can someone put a body on this guy??
  • Nick at Night? - Could this be the fourth career NHL game for Nick Drazenovic, who was called up this week as Cam Atkinson continues to struggle coming back from a high ankle sprain. With Artem Anisimov getting banged up last night with a shot from Jack Johnson, it's not outside the realm of possibility to see Draz get his first Jackets' start tonight on the second line in place of Arty.

Thank goodness for weekend games! This one's only on at 8:00. That's, like, doable for me. Maybe.

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