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Columbus
Blue Jackets
25-45-8-4
Chicago
Blackhawks
20-43-11-8

33 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CBJ
CHI
game preview

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Friday, 12.26.2003 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

Blue Jackets-Blackhawks Preview

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (8-18-4-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (8-17-7-3).

TIME: Friday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

The Chicago Blackhawks look to build on their first shutout victory of the season when they host the Central Division-rival Columbus Blue Jackets.

Chicago won for just the second time in 21 games (2-12-4-3), 3-0 over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Rookie goaltender Michael Leighton made 23 saves for his second career shutout as the Blackhawks snapped a five-game winless streak (0-3-2).

"The team played great," Leighton said. "Having a three-goal lead felt great. That's a game you have to win. And the team played well defensively. I just can't say enough about it."

Steve Sullivan, Scott Nichol and Tyler Arnason all scored to give the Blackhawks their first three-goal output in six games, and the third in 17.

"It was huge," Steve Sullivan said. "We've been known to blow a one-goal lead in the third period. We kept scoring and working after we got the first goal tonight."

Chicago's 66 goals are third-fewest in the league, topping only Columbus (65) and Carolina (61).

The hapless Blue Jackets will try for the first road victory of the season. Columbus has not won since beating Anaheim 2-1 Dec. 2, going 0-6-1-2 since, and is tied with Pittsburgh for the fewest points in the NHL (33).

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 2-1 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday. Rick Nash scored his 21st goal of the season against Phoenix and is now tied with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk for the NHL lead.

"We've become pretty fragile in the last month," Columbus coach Doug MacLean said. "There's a confidence factor there. It's not happening right now, there's no doubt about that."

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-28 with the man advantage in its last four games, including 0-for-5 against the Coyotes.

"We had our chances on the power play and we're not getting anything there," MacLean said. "We didn't capitalize."

Chicago has a three point lead over Columbus in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks are 9-5-2-1 in the all-time series and have never lost at home to the Blue Jackets.

2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 27 '04CBJ 4 at CHI 3L. Richardson
Feb 25 '04CHI 4 at CBJ 3K. Calder
Jan 24 '04CHI 3 at CBJ 4T. Wright
Jan 22 '04CBJ 0 at CHI 7T. Moen
Dec 26 '03CBJ 4 at CHI 1M. Malhotra
Oct 16 '03CHI 1 at CBJ 2T. Marchant
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