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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Canucks

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

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WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addresses the media following Friday night's loss to the Canucks.

WATCH: Boone Jenner talks about what went wrong for the Jackets in tonight's loss to Vancouver.

WATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson talks about tonight's 6-2 loss to the Canucks.

WATCH: Artem Anisimov scores the Jackets' second goal of the game, depositing a rebound behind Luongo in the third period.

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS:Well, that certainly escalated quickly. The Blue Jackets, after a solid first period, yielded three straight goals in the second period and the Canucks - who have dominated this game after the Calvert goal - hold a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes at Rogers Arena. The three-goal burst for Vancouver started with a Zack Kassian wrist shot that squeezed through Sergei Bobrovsky, and it continued when Henrik Sedin tossed a puck from the side of the net into Bobrosky's feet. Bobrovsky couldn't find the puck and inadvertently kicked it into his own net to make it 3-1 Canucks. On the next shift, it was Alex Edler's rolling puck slap shot that rang off the post and in...opening the floodgates in a wild second period that the Canucks used to take firm control. Can the Blue Jackets rally in the third period? They have one three-goal comeback to their credit this season, but they have to start shooting more pucks. Roberto Luongo hasn't nearly been tested enough, and they'll need pucks on net and traffic to make this interesting.

FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Aside from the late goal by Daniel Sedin, that wasn't a poor road period by the Blue Jackets. Were they out-shot? Yes, but the majority of the Canucks' opportunities came from the perimeter and in areas where Bobrovsky had a clean look at the puck. The Blue Jackets' defensive zone coverage has been solid, too, but one breakdown late in the period gave Vancouver a chance to move up ice in transition. The Blue Jackets got their offense from Matt Calvert, who hadn't played since Oct. 10 (he missed 19 games) due to abdominal surgery.

WATCH: Matt Calvert gets back in the lineup with a goal just 2:37 into tonight's game!

UPDATE (9:40 PM): The Blue Jackets are expected to skate in these line combinations tonight...

Umbeger - Johansen - Foligno
Jenner - Anisimov - Atkinson
Letestu - MacKenzie - Comeau
Calvert - Chaput - Boll

- James Wisniewski will not play tonight. Tim Erixon draws into the lineup in his place.

Hometown boy Ryan Johansen meets with the media and talks about how the Blue Jackets can build off their recent road success:

WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addresses the media prior to tonight's game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

WATCH: Matt Calvert talks about getting back in the lineup and what he wants to contribute tonight against the Canucks.

UPDATE (3:55 PM):
Ryan Johansen talks about playing in his hometown, his growing responsbilities on the ice & more --> JOHANSEN

UPDATE (3:40 PM):
Here's the full pre-game interview with Matt Calvert --> CALVERT

UPDATE (3:25 PM):
Some lineup updates from Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards...

- Calvert's in. But you knew that already.

- Tim Erixon is likely to play tonight because James Wisniewski is under the weather. That's not a certainty yet but definitely possible. Up front, Derek MacKenzie's upper body injury is probably going to keep him out of tonight's game. 

- Brandon Dubinsky is not ready to return. He traveled back to Columbus for further evaluation.

- Sergei Bobrovsky in goal.

UPDATE (3:10 PM):
Here are some thoughts from Matt Calvert on his return tonight, playing with Chaput & Boll, and providing energy to the lineup...

"It felt good. I'm trying to get back in the groove, and preparing to go out there and play hockey again. It's been five or six weeks off, so I'm just going to keep it simple and have some fun."

"I want to come into the game hard, but I'm going to feel my way in. I haven't been on the ice for a while, so I'm going to come out hard, try to provide some energy and the rest will take care of itself." 

"I've played with Boller quite a bit in my know what you're going to get from him every night. They both work really hard. I'm going to have some fun (tonight) and just work my way back in."

UPDATE (2:55 PM):
Jeff Rimer reports from Vancouver that Matt Calvert officially makes his return tonight. Brandon Dubinsky remains out of the lineup with a bruised foot. For now, Calvert will open on the fourth line on LW with Michael Chaput and Jared Boll.

UPDATE (2:50 PM):
The Blue Jackets are going with Sergei Bobrovsky in net tonight against the Canucks. 

UPDATE (1:30 PM):
Canucks coach John Tortorella just announced that Roberto Luongo will start tonight for Vancouver.

UPDATE (1:00 PM): According to Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province, the Canucks are going to open tonight's game by splitting up the Sedin twins. Henrik will remain at center and Daniel stays in customary left wing spot, albeit with completely different line mates. Henrik is expected to center a line with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen - at least to start the game.

Pretty cool off day for some of the Blue Jackets yesterday, as they visited EA Canada's campus in Burnaby, B.C. They got a tour of the facilities, a behind-the-scenes look at how NHL 14 is made, and the players got the motion capture treatment along with a face scan for the game.

They're at Rogers Arena this morning and are scheduled to take the ice at 2:30 pm ET for their morning skate. One thing to keep an eye on is Brandon Dubinsky, who is going to test his bruised foot to see if he can play tonight. Matt Calvert, activated off IR yesterday, is expected to be in the lineup for the first time since Oct. 10.

Stay tuned to Game Day Central for the latest from both teams' morning skates.

The Blue Jackets have not had Matt Calvert in their lineup since Oct. 10 in Buffalo (which feels like a year ago), but that is likely to change Friday night in Vancouver. Calvert, who had abdominal surgery that has sidelined him in the weeks since, is expected to play against the Canucks and it will be a significant boost to the Jackets' lineup. 

In the past week, they've seen a return from Boone Jenner (who has made an impact in the three games he's played) and adding Calvert gives them even more depth. Calvert's speed and tenacity on the forecheck was a catalyst for the Blue Jackets on many nights last season, and having him back is a positive development as the team tries to make up ground in the Metropolitan Division.

Brandon Dubinsky is also a game-time decision with a bruised foot suffered in Edmonton. Todd Richards said Dubinsky is a day-to-day situation right now, and he will likely take the morning skate on Friday before making a determination.

On defense, the Blue Jackets are still carrying Tim Erixon as their extra defenseman and there's been no official word (yet) as to whether he'll play in Vancouver. Sergei Bobrovsky, who was strong in Wednesday's overtime win over Calgary, is expected to get the start in goal for the Blue Jackets and face Roberto Luongo for Vancouver.

The Canucks, halfway through a six-game homestand at Rogers Arena, are looking to get back on solid footing after dropping three straight at home and five straight overall. Their last outing, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, was so disappointing for coach John Tortorella that he said his team didn't even deserve a point.

Another problem for Vancouver: the offense. The Canucks have scored just six goals in this current five-game skid, which ranks as the franchise's longest without a victory since 2009. This has been a mystifying start for the Canucks, who had high hopes for a rebound season under their new head coach but things have been, to say the least, inconsistent through the first quarter of the campaign.

The Blue Jackets, fresh off a 2-1 overtime victory in Calgary that might register as their most important yet, know that game means little to nothing if they don't follow it up with a better performance in Vancouver. Two days after a stinging 7-0 loss to the last-place Edmonton Oilers, the Blue Jackets are seaching for some consistency of their own and want to string wins - not just points - together so they can begin to climb the standings in a wide-open division.

Aside from that game in Edmonton, the Blue Jackets have garnered at least a point in every game since a Nov. 9 victory over the New York Islanders. They've closed within two points of third place (the so-called playoff bar) in the Metropolitan Division but there's a long way to go, making it imperative to earn more points and continue this run they're on while turning some of the overtime and shootout losses into wins.

In the one previous meeting between these two teams this season, the Blue Jackets snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory at Nationwide Arena. It was the Blue Jackets debut for goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who made 37saves and was named the game's No. 1 star. 



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