Tonight the 1-4 Arizona Coyotes head to Columbus to take on a Blue Jackets team that has a lot of potential. The Arizona Coyotes entered the 2022-23 season fully expecting to compete for last place and in turn, punch their draft lottery ticket for a chance to snag Connor Bedard. That being said, the team has lived up to their expectations and have come away from a pretty brutal season opening road series with a 1-4 record, but has a chance to close out this road trip with a win.
A few bright spots include budding superstar Clayton Keller, defensemen Shane Gostisbehere and JJ Moser, and the continued success of forward Nick Ritchie. The biggest surprise so far this season was the Coyotes road win in Toronto, where they physically dominated the Leafs and their star-studded lineup. The internet was on fire with Auston Matthews and the Coyotes memes.
Oh, and goalie Karel Vejmelka has a winning record against Toronto (he has been lit up by the rest of the league this year, thanks to his defense).
So the team prepares to play the Blue Jackets who are a very interesting team. The state of Ohio is already a confusing place; not quite Midwest and not quite East Coast. So it should not come as a surprise to anybody that this Blue Jackets team is 3-4 and at times has looked like a team that could compete in the East (beating the Rangers, Predators, and Canucks). Other times the team has been pretty pedestrian (struggling against Carolina, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Washington).
The teams that Columbus has struggles with are some of the better teams in the league, but shouldn’t good teams beat good teams?
So what should we expect tonight? The Coyotes are 30-29-4 all-time against the Blue Jackets, and most of those wins came when the Blue Jackets were in the early stages of their history and not a very good team. Going back to 2014, the team is 4-11 in the past 15 games against Columbus.
The Blue Jackets’ roster features Johnny Gaudreau, Jakub Voracek, Zach Werenski, and up-and-coming rookie Kent Johnson. Lucky for us Patrick Laine is out with a sprained elbow.
The Coyotes are projected to have Karel Vejmelka in goal. Correction- Connor Ingram has been named the starter for tonight’s game, according to Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports.
Expect the Coyotes to be physical and full of energy as the team wraps up the season-opening road trip and prepares for their first home game at Mullett Arena.
The puck drops at 4 pm MST and you can catch the game on TV: Bally Sports Arizona | Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Give ’em hell tonight boys.