Columbus Blue Jackets (22-41-7) at Vancouver Canucks (42-20-8), 10 p.m. (ET)
(Sports Network) – The Vancouver Canucks will shoot for just their third win
in nine games when they host the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Rogers
Vancouver has compiled a 2-4-2 mark over its last eight contests, but is still
holding a comfortable 11-point lead over Colorado in the race for the
Northwest Division title.
Although the slide has not done significant damage to Vancouver’s division
title hopes so far, the Canucks would like to get back on the winning track
tonight before heading out a four-game road trip. The Canucks are 2-4 on their
current seven-game homestand, dropping them to 20-10-4 as the host this
Tonight’s opponent offers Vancouver a good opportunity to get its confidence
back, as the Blue Jackets enter tonight on a three-game slide and are still
dead last in the NHL with 51 points. The Canucks had won nine in a row against
Columbus before the Blue Jackets notched a 2-1 shootout win in Ohio on Dec.
The Canucks still own a four-game home winning streak over the Blue Jackets,
who haven’t won in Vancouver since Oct. 5, 2009.
After dropping a 4-1 decision to Montreal last Saturday, Vancouver had three
days off to prepare for the Coyotes, but still dropped a 5-4 regulation
decision to Phoenix on Wednesday. Vancouver held a 2-0 lead in the first
period, but the Coyotes scored five of the game’s next six goals to take
control of the contest.
Alexandre Burrows posted a goal and an assist for the Canucks, while Roberto
Luongo was tagged for all five goals on 33 shots.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of how good you play,” Canucks defenseman Kevin
Bieksa said. “[The Coyotes] are a good team and they’re playing well lately,
obviously, and they got one more than us tonight.”
Henrik Sedin posted two assists in Wednesday’s loss, ending an eight-game
point drought that fell one game shy of tying the longest pointless streak of
Luongo’s struggles continued, however, as the netminder surrendered three or
more goals for the seventh time in eight starts. Cory Schneider will get the
start in net tonight and the backup has allowed two goals or less in each of
his last seven appearances, going 5-1-1 over that stretch.
After winning four straight to begin March, the Blue Jackets have been
outscored by a combined 9-2 margin during their three-game slide. Columbus was
shut out Wednesday night in Edmonton, as Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves to lead
the Oilers to a 3-0 decision.
Curtis Sanford gave up two goals on 26 shots in defeat for the Blue Jackets.
“Tonight was as bad as we’ve played all season, I’m really disappointed with
the way we played tonight,” Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards
said. “Many of the things we’ve done in the past to win games were really
Columbus is playing the middle part of a three-game road trip and is just
9-22-4 as the guest this year.
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