The Columbus Blue Jackets will shoot for their fourth win in five games Tuesday night when they host the reeling Arizona Coyotes.
The Blue Jackets had started the season by being outscored 14-5 in dropping their first three games, but since then have found their offense. They have scored at least four goals in their past three wins, with the only blemish lately a 6-3 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
The Coyotes have opened the season by winning just one of five games and have allowed six goals in each of their losses — each of which has been by at least three goals. Tuesday’s game concludes Arizona’s season-opening six-game road trip.
Columbus is returning home after picking up its first road win in three tries this season and received another boost Tuesday, when Patrik Laine was at right wing for the Blue Jackets’ morning skate. Laine was cleared to play Tuesday night in his first action since suffering an elbow injury in the season opener.
On Sunday, five different Blue Jackets scored and Daniil Tarasov made 30 saves to pick up his first NHL win in a 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
Zach Werenski, Andrew Peeke, Yegor Chinakhov, Eric Robinson and Kent Johnson all scored, while Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic each added two assists, as did Liam Foudy, who was making his season debut after being sidelined with a shoulder injury he sustained in the preseason.
Foudy was on the ice for a total of 13:23 and had a plus-2 rating.
“By committee, we’re going to have to do it that way, and they know that,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “Liam Foudy, in his first game since preseason, he had great legs. You could tell in the first period he was challenging the defensemen with his legs. He gets to the net on his second opportunity, gets a couple assists. That’s a big night for us.”
The 6-foot-5 Tarasov, a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, has been backing up starter Elvis Merzlikins (2-2, 4.19 GAA), who will start against the Coyotes, until Joonas Korpisalo returns from having hip surgery.
The Blue Jackets are led by Johnny Gaudreau, who has seven goals despite his second straight game without finding the back of the net. Gaudreau, Laine and Noone Jenner were on the top line in Tuesday’s morning skate.
“I felt pretty good the last four or five days,” Laine said. “So I was kind of kind of surprised how good I was feeling that quickly after the injury, but I’m not going to complain. It’s more fun to be out here a couple of weeks early than later and obviously excited to get out there and actually play those games. It hasn’t been that long, but I’m so excited to go. It’s been tough watching these games on TV, so happy to be back and hopefully help the guys out.”
The Coyotes are coming off a 6-2 loss at Ottawa on Sunday.
The Senators jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period before Dylan Guenther, a 19-year-old playing in his fourth career game, scored on the power play less than two minutes into the second period for his first career goal.
“That was a goal-scorer’s goal,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. “He found a hole, and found a breakaway as well in the third, so he could have had two.”
After Brady Tkachuk scored the first of his two goals for the Senators two minutes later, Clayton Keller needed less than 20 seconds to counter, pulling the Coyotes to within 3-2. The Senators scored three times in the final period to secure the win.
Karel Vejmelka (1-3-0, 4.77 GAA) made 26 saves for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes are led by defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere’s five points (two goals, three assists), with Nick Ritchie’s three goals leading the team.
–Field Level Media