Welcome back to The Warmup.
Here, you'll get everything you need to know – including keys to the game, where to watch and listen, and more – before the Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes meet for the second and final time this season, on Thursday night at Gila River Arena.
The Blue Jackets rebounded on Monday night, rallying in the third period to stun the Detroit Red Wings, 5-3 at Nationwide Arena. Down 2-0, then tied 2-2, and down 3-2 late, Columbus found a way to get two points in a game it needed.
Where to watch, listen and stream tonight's game...
WHO: Blue Jackets (8-5-0) vs. Coyotes (2-13-1)
WHERE: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Columbus (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley)
RADIO: 105.7 FM (Bob McElligott, Dylan Tyrer)
STREAM: ESPN+ (out of market only)
Did the Blue Jackets need Monday's win? Damn right they did.
It was tough to come away from the previous home-home weekend with nothing. They played well Friday throughout, then for chunks of the game on Saturday – but 4-3 and 5-2 losses left a sour taste. "Imperative" might be hyperbolic, but Columbus was going to be in a tough spot headed into this road trip without a win on Monday.
They open the trip tonight in Glendale against a Coyotes team that's won twice in its first 16 games, but goaltender Scott Wedgewood has given them a lift after being claimed off waivers from the Devils earlier this month. Wedgewood has a .944 save percentage and has earned both of Arizona's two wins, both of which have come against the St. Louis Blues.
ALL-TIME: The Blue Jackets are 28-28-6 in 52 regular-season meetings with the Coyotes, including a 12-15-4 record on the road. Lately, the matchup has been favorable to Columbus with a 9-2-0 mark in the last 11 games. The two teams did not meet in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season.
KEYS TO THE GAME
What do the Blue Jackets need to do to win tonight? We're glad you asked.
- Waste No Time: The Coyotes are obviously struggling with confidence, and how could you not after such a dreadful start? They have some life now, though, with the injection of a competent goaltender, but the Blue Jackets need to put the pedal down right away.
- Play Your Game: The Blue Jackets know what they're good at, but lately, they've been guilty of mirroring their opposition when the game starts to get away from them. It happened Saturday against the Rangers, and for a brief period of time Monday night. If Brad Larsen can roll his lines and get everyone involved, the Blue Jackets have the depth to make things challenging for Arizona.
- Start It Off Right: Road trips have a way of telling you a lot about a team. The Blue Jackets have been pretty good on the road so far, and there are no cakewalks on this three-gamer. The Coyotes can hang when they get the goaltending, Vegas is always tough at home, and the Sabres are an early-season surprise. First and foremost, get two points tonight.
From the head coach...