HOCKEY | NHL

Arizona Coyotes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick & Prediction OCT 14TH 2021

Complete TV: BSN Nationwide Arena Columbus
71Coyotes Arizona
72Blue Jackets Columbus
OP
5.5
-1.5
CU
5.5o -111
-1.5 +155
ML
ML: 140
ML: -160
Partials
1 2 3
0 1 1
2 3 3
Score
2
8

The Arizona Coyotes will visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night in a matchup of teams looking for fresh starts.

Both clubs missed the playoffs last season, and both have new coaches.

Brad Larsen, 44, takes over for the Blue Jackets, but he isn't a new face. Larsen has been an assistant for Columbus since 2014-15, starting under Todd Richards and continuing under John Tortorella, whom Larsen replaces.

"He was the guy that you would go to for video, for help, for a whole array of things," center Jack Roslovic said of Larsen. "Now to have him as a head coach, it's great because that connection is there and that comfort level is there."

Along with Tortorella, others who are gone include longtime core players Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson, Seth Jones and Denis Savard.

Atkinson went to the Flyers in July for a familiar face as winger Jakub Voracek, 32, returns to Columbus. Voracek was drafted by the Blue Jackets seventh overall in 2007 and traded to the Flyers in 2011. He had nine goals and 34 assists in 56 games last season.

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Voracek has been skating on the Blue Jackets' top line with Patrik Laine and 22-year-old center Alexandre Texier and also has provided a boost to the Columbus power play.

"Whenever he's got the puck on his stick, you've just got to try and find a way to get open and he'll find you," said defenseman Zach Werenski. "(Having) a guy with that type of creativity on our power play, it's huge. It opens up a lot of options for us."

With the tragic passing this past summer of Matiss Kivlenieks -- he died from chest trauma after being hit by an errant firework -- Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo will be in net.

In Arizona, 47-year-old Andre "Bear" Tourigny replaces Rick Tocchet at the helm of a team that's made the playoffs only once in the past nine years. The former NHL assistant had been working for Hockey Canada and takes over a team that's moving from the West Division to the Central to accommodate the expansion Seattle Kraken.

Tourigny and Coyotes' management liked what he saw during the preseason as the Coyotes played a physical style and finished 5-1.

"We practice hard; we don't take shifts off or any part of the drill off," general manager Bill Armstrong said. "That was one of the reasons I liked (Tourigny) a lot, and I've said it a few times: Where there's a lot of accountability but when he's pushing them, there's some likability on the other side."

To go along with their rookie coach, the Coyotes imported a group of veterans in the offseason, including Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Travis Boyd, Ryan Dzingel, Anton Stralman and Carter Hutton.

They join veteran Phil Kessel, who's in the final season of an eight-year contract. He missed most of training camp with a foot injury. Among the returning forwards are playmaker Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz and Lawson Crouse.

"To be honest, when we look up front, we fill the 14 forwards that we have; we like them," Tourigny said.

Gone is former captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, forward Conor Garland and last season's goaltending corps.

Arizona defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had 20 points in 41 games for the Flyers last season.

Hutton looks to be the opening-night goalie.

--Field Level Media

Arizona Coyotes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Carl Soderberg collected a goal and two assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves as the visiting Arizona Coyotes skated to a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse also tallied for Arizona, which snapped a modest two-game skid overall and improved to 9-3-3 on the road this season.

Defenseman Dean Kukan scored his first career NHL goal, Alexandre Texier also tallied, and Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 24 shots for the Blue Jackets, who fell to 8-2-0 in their past 10 encounters with the Coyotes.

Fischer, who recorded a hat trick in his previous trip to Columbus, gave Arizona a 2-1 lead at 9:35 of the second period. The 22-year-old unleashed a blast from the high slot that sailed under the crossbar for his fourth goal of the season.

The Coyotes doubled the advantage just over seven minutes later when Soderberg's wrist shot from the high slot deflected off Crouse and into the net. Crouse's goal was his sixth of the season and fourth in his past seven games.

Texier converted Cam Atkinson's centering feed to halve the deficit 2:13 into the third period. Atkinson was playing in his 554th game, passing defenseman Fedor Tyutin for the second most in franchise history. Rick Nash is the leader with 674 appearances.

The Blue Jackets pressed for the equalizer before Soderberg sealed the win by scoring into the empty net with 35 seconds remaining in the third period.

With 49 seconds remaining in the first period, Phil Kessel drew the attention of Columbus' defense along the left-wing wall before feeding Christian Dvorak, who sent a circle-to-circle pass to Keller for a one-timer to open the scoring. The goal was Keller's fifth of the season and first since Nov. 12 in Arizona's 3-2 shootout win against St. Louis.

The Blue Jackets took advantage of defenseman Jakob Chychrun's high-sticking double-minor penalty early in the second period before forging a tie at 2:24. Sonny Milano wired a cross-seam pass from the edge of the left circle to the top of the right for Kukan, who sailed a shot under the crossbar.

Kukan, 26, was playing in his 63rd NHL game, his 19th this season.

--Field Level Media

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