January 02, 2015

The Columbus Blue Jackets are still searching for their first victory in a start by a backup goaltender.

Arizona Coyotes goalies have the second-worst goals-against average in the league, and the club will be forced to start a backup in its next game Thursday night.

The Coyotes figure to turn to Anders Lindback as they look to hand the visiting Blue Jackets a sixth straight loss.

Sergei Bobrovsky is out with a lower-body injury and his absence makes the league's worst team even worse. Columbus (11-19-3) is 0-7-1 in games Bobrovsky has not started.

Rookie Joonas Korpisalo was given his first two starts in the last two games for Columbus, but was pulled in favor of Curtis McElhinney after two periods of Tuesday's 5-1 loss at Dallas.

"I thought our young guy, and it's his second game, he just didn't look the same as I saw in the first one," coach John Tortorella said.

McElhinney has not posted a regulation win as a starter since Feb. 19, a 14-game drought. He's gone 2-10-2 with a 3.27 goals-against average in his last 14 starts with two shootout victories.

Arizona (14-14-2) has a 3.17 GAA and Lindback has taken over as the No. 1 goalie after the club announced Tuesday that Mike Smith is expected to miss at least two months after undergoing abdominal surgery. Lindback is 4-3-1 with a 3.14 GAA in eight starts.

"Obviously that's not what we hoped for and hopefully he'll get back quick here, but it's a big opportunity for me and something you work hard for," Lindback told the Coyotes' official website. "I just want to make the most of it and get out there every game and try to help this team get as many points as we can."

Lindback is 0-3-0 with a 3.42 GAA in three starts against Columbus.

Louis Domingue will serve as Lindback's backup. Domingue, who has yet to see action this season, posted a 2.73 GAA in seven games - four starts - in 2014-15.

Columbus is 0-3-2 in its last five and 1-5-3 in nine after Tuesday's defeat, and held a players-only meeting afterward.

''It's really none of my business,'' Tortorella said. ''I'm not sure what went on in there and I won't ask any questions. That room has to sustain itself a little bit through some of these things. It can't be me going in there all the time.''

Ryan Johansen has no goals in eight games this month and six this season after totaling 59 over the previous two. He saw only 11:03 of ice time Tuesday for his lowest total in the last four years.

Arizona hasn't played since opening this six-game homestand with a pair of weekend overtime games, beating Minnesota 2-1 on Friday and losing 5-4 to Carolina the next night. Anthony Duclair had two goals and an assist Saturday.

Duclair is fourth among rookies with 18 points with teammate Max Domi second with 25.

William Karlsson scored twice and Boone Jenner added a goal and two assists in the Blue Jackets' 5-2 home win over Arizona on Nov. 14. The chippy contest featured the ejection of Coyotes captain Shane Doan, a 10-minute misconduct penalty for Jenner and 12 roughing penalties.

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