Blue Jackets open 21st Season hosting the Arizona Coyotes tonight

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS VS. ARIZONA COYOTES

TV:  Bally Sports Ohio           Jeff Rimer (play-by-play), Jody Shelley (color analyst), Dave Maetzold (reporter)              
Radio:  97.1 The Fan              Bob McElligott (play-by-play), Dylan Tyrer (host)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

2020-21 Record: 18-26-12, 48 pts. (8th, Discover Central Division)… Playoffs:  Did Not Qualify 

Goals:  2.39 Goals-For/3.29 Goals-Against… Shots:  29.0 Shots-For/32.4 Shots-Against

Power Play:  15.4 percent (27th, NHL)… Penalty Kill:  79.0 percent (20th-T, NHL)

Penalty Minutes:  7.0 PIM (5th-T, NHL)… Overtime Record (Shootout):  6-9-3 (3-3)

Leaders:  RW Oliver Bjorkstrand (Led club in goals, assists and points with 18-26-44 in 56 GP)… D Zach Werenski (Led club defensemen in goals with 7-13-20 in 35 GP)… G Elvis Merzlikins (8-12-5, 2.77 GAA, .916 SV%, 2 SO in 28 GP).

ARIZONA COYOTES

2020-21 Record: 24-26-6, 54 pts. (5th, Honda West Division)

Goals:  2.68 Goals-For/3.11 Goals-Against… Shots:  27.5 Shots-For/30.5 Shots-Against

Power Play:  20.8 percent (13th, NHL)… Penalty Kill:  80.8 percent (11th-T, NHL)

Penalty Minutes:  8.0 PIM (15th-T, NHL)… Overtime Record (Shootout):  5-4-2 (3-2)

Players to Watch:  RW Phil Kessel led club in goals and points in 2020-21 with 20-23-43 in 56 games… D Jakob Chychrun led NHL blueliners in goals and finished 10th-T in points last season with 18-23-41 in 56 outings.

ALL-TIME SERIES

Results:  Columbus has gone 27-28-6 in 51 regular season games vs. the Coyotes, including 15-13-2 at home… Of Note: The teams did not meet during the 2020-21 season… Columbus went 1-1-0 vs. Arizona in 2019-20, with each team earning victories on the road (CBJ 3, at ARI 2 on Nov. 7, 2019 and ARI 4, at CBJ 2 on Dec. 3, 2019)… The Blue Jackets are 8-2-0 in the last 10 games of the series… The club has earned victories against the Coyotes in eight of the last 11 games at Nationwide Arena since Feb. 25, 2011  but Arizona has picked up wins in each of the last two outings since Oct. 23, 2018… The Blue Jackets have recorded seven of the 12 shutouts in the all-time series, including the most recent one on Dec. 9, 2017 (Sergei Bobrovsky; 35 saves in 1-0 win at CBJ)…  Goals:  CBJ – 149, ARI – 165… CBJ PP:  41-of-267 (15.4%)…CBJ PK:  230-of-275 (83.6%).

This Season (CBJ, 0-0-0)

Oct. 14, 2021 – at Columbus (7 p.m.)

Nov. 18, 2021 – at Arizona (9 p.m.)

CBJ TEAM NOTES

The Blue Jackets begin their 21st NHL season with Thursday’s game against the Coyotes… The club plays five of its first six contests of the campaign at Nationwide Arena… The team is 8-10-2 all-time in season-openers, including a 2-2-0 mark in the past four… Columbus is 7-9-4 all-time in home openers… Since 2012, the Blue Jackets have gone 336-257-73 (.559) and rank 15th in the NHL in wins during that span… Last season (18-26-12) marked the club’s second sub-.500 season on the past nine campaigns and snapped their streak of consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at four (2017-20)… Columbus finished the preseason at the top of the Metropolitan Division with a record of 4-2-2 (10 pts.).  The team earned points in all four home games during the preseason (2-0-2)… Brad Larsen will be behind the bench for his first regular season game as head coach on Thursday.  He was named the club’s eighth head coach in franchise history on June 10, 2021.  He septn the past seven seasons as an assistant coach with the club.

CBJ PLAYER NOTES

The Blue Jackets named their team captains on Tuesday.  F Boone Jenner, who is entering his ninth NHL season, was named the seventh captain in franchise history… RW Oliver Bjorkstrand, LW Gustav Nyquist and D Zach Werenski were named as alternate captains for the team… RW Oliver Bjorkstrand, who led the team in goals, assists and points last season with 18-26-44 in 56 games, finished second in the NHL in the preseason in goals and 11th-T in points with 5-1-6 in four games… RW Jakub Voracek, who rejoined the team in a Draft Day trade (July 24), ranked second-T in the NHL in preseason scoring with 2-5-7 in four appearances.  Voracek spent the past 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers.  He made his NHL debut with Columbus and played three seasons with the club from 2008-11… D Zach Werenski enters 2021-22 with 65-124-189 in 335 career games since 2016.  His goal total is tied for third among all NHL defensemen, while he also ranks 19th in points… Three players on the current roster could make their NHL debuts this week – F Yegor Chinakhov (2020 1st Rd. Pick, 21st overall), F Gregory Hofmann (trade with Carolina) and F Cole Sillinger (2021 1st Rd. Pick, 12th overall)… Others who are slated to make their CBJ team debut with their first contest, include D Jake Bean, D Adam Boqvist and C Sean Kuraly.

MILESTONES

•     RW Oliver Bjorkstrand is six assists from 100 for his NHL career (83-94-177, 302 GP).

•     C Max Domi is 10 goals from 100 for his NHL career (90-185-275, 429 GP).

•     D Zach Werenski is 11 points from 200 for his NHL career (65-124-189, 335 GP).

OhioHEALTH INJURY REPORT

                              o TOTAL MAN GAMES LOST:  0.

COURTESY BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS

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