Hockey is a streaky sport. The Coyotes can attest to that, playing poorly early before rebounding thanks in large part to practically unbeatable goalie Mike Smith, who recently won NHL Star of the Week honors. Playing even better now, Smith recently held opponents scoreless for a stretch of 171 minutes and 26 seconds during a streak of nine wins in 10 games. Forward Radim Vrbata is on fire, too, knocking in game winners during what's fast becoming his best professional season. All this has the Coyotes knocking on the door of Pacific Division leader San Jose Sharks, and back in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff spot.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, despite dwelling in the Central Division cellar, hope to start a winning streak of their own by putting some ice on the Coyotes' fire.