Columbus at Arizona
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Saturday, December 3, 2016
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
The streaking Columbus Blue Jackets are within striking distance of first place in the Metropolitan Division as they prepare to kick off a home-and-home series against the team with the fewest wins in the league. The Blue Jackets pay a visit to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday before hosting the Pacific Division cellar dwellers in Monday's rematch.
Columbus is 11-2-3 in its last 16 games after Thursday's 3-2 win at Colorado to move within three points of the division-leading New York Rangers with three games in hand. The Blue Jackets are riding a four-game point streak (3-0-1) and are 7-3-3 against Western Conference opponents. Arizona remains stuck on eight wins after consecutive one-goal losses to Pacific rivals Anaheim and Los Angeles. The Coyotes are used to playing in such games, with nine of their last 10 contests decided by one goal.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), FSN Arizona Plus
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (13-5-4): While Columbus has been on a roll, the same cannot be said of Boone Jenner, who has been mired in a slump after his breakout 30-goal campaign last season. Jenner scored just his third goal of the season at Colorado, delivering the game-winning tally with just over 11 minutes to play. “He’s done a lot of other things," coach John Tortorella said. "But if we can just get his offense going, then you have a little bit of balance if one of our other lines has an off night.”
ABOUT THE COYOTES (8-11-3): Arizona also received a welcome offensive boost when Martin Hanzal scored a pair of power-play goals in Thursday's 4-3 loss to Los Angeles -- matching his total from his previous 15 games. Tobias Rieder also scored -- his fourth goal in nine games -- and drew praise from coach Dave Tippett. "I see a top-notch, excellent, 200-foot player," Tippett said. "The NHL is a fast league right now and he's a fast player. We've got some guys that should watch him play."
1. Blue Jackets F Brandon Saad has seven points in his last seven games.
2. Coyotes G Mike Smith is 6-5-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average versus the Blue Jackets.
3. Columbus needs two wins to reach 500.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 4, Coyotes 2
Stats and Records