Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/3/12
The Phoenix Coyotes won nearly every game in February, including some recent comebacks from poor first periods. That formula dried up in their first game in March. The Coyotes look to bounce back from their first regulation defeat in more than a month when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Phoenix (33-22-9) went 11-0-1 in February to seize the Pacific Division lead, rallying from first-period deficits in winning three of its final four contests to close the month. The Coyotes, though, fell behind by three goals after 20 minutes Thursday night and saw their comeback fall short in a 4-2 loss to visiting Calgary. "We've come from behind too many times this season, and when that happens, you tend to get burned," captain Shane Doan said. The Coyotes have a two-point lead in the division race, but know they also have little margin of error to ensure a playoff berth in the tight Western Conference. Phoenix has three meetings left with league-worst Columbus (19-38-7), which won 2-0 at Colorado on Thursday to hurt the Avalanche's playoff hopes. "Obviously, they are in a tough playoff push right now, and if we can play spoiler and have a big game like this, then we'll take pride in that," said goaltender Steve Mason, who stopped 33 shots for his first shutout of the season. The Blue Jackets' previous two wins had been against contenders San Jose and St. Louis. Columbus won 4-3 at home over Phoenix on Jan. 13 in the lone meeting this season. "We've got a team coming in Saturday in Columbus that beat Colorado (on Thursday) that are playing free and easy and if you're not willing to compete against them, you're going to be on the back side of it," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. Tippett may be able to gain some extra insight on Columbus because of the acquisition of center Antoine Vermette from the Blue Jackets on Feb. 22 in exchange for goaltender Curtis McElhinney and two draft picks. Vermette has no points in four games for Phoenix, and still ranks fourth among Blue Jackets skaters with 27. The Coyotes' top scorer is another former Blue Jacket in Ray Whitney, whose six-game point streak ended Thursday. Another former Columbus skater, Raffi Torres, scored Phoenix's lone power-play tally in its last 13 chances. Columbus ended a three-game slide Thursday as Vinny Prospal assisted on goals by Nikita Nikitin and Fedor Tyutin. "It's not just about the win," Prospal said. "It's about the whole game. How many times during the season have we lost a lead in the third period or in the last minute of the game? So for us to finish the game strong, as we did tonight, it's a big plus." The Coyotes have taken 10 of the last 13 meetings and five of six at home against the Blue Jackets as they look to put forth a better effort than Thursday's. "When you lose games, it's the same message - it's how you play," Tippett said. "We were winning games because we were playing the right way."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Paul George extremely critical of Pacers following trade deadline

Chris Bosh joining TNT as analyst

Cameron Payne will have chance to shine with Bulls

Danny Ainge opens up about why Celtics didn’t make a trade before deadline

Kevin Durant wants to be NBA GM or owner after playing career

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Mavericks discussing buyout with Deron Williams

T-Wolves reportedly backed away from Ricky Rubio-Derrick Rose trade

DeMarcus Cousins calls duo with Anthony Davis ‘Fire and Ice’

Reasons why 76ers got so little for Nerlens Noel emerge

John Lynch: 49ers ‘absolutely’ need to improve at QB position

Report: Raptors trade Jared Sullinger, two future picks to Suns for P.J. Tucker

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker