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Game Preview: Blue Jackets, Canucks seek first post-break wins

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Vancouver Canucks have not played a game since their 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Jan. 26 at Rogers Arena.

In that game, Craig Smith opened the scoring for the Predators less than a minute into the first period, but Brandon Sutter scored later in the frame to even the score for Vancouver.

After a scoreless second period, James Neal scored at 15:16 of the third period and sealed a 2-1 victory for Nashville. Ryan Miller made 17 saves for the Canucks in a losing effort.

In their 12 games throughout the month of January, the Canucks finished with an even split of six wins and six losses. Four of those games were decided in overtime (the Canucks won two of them) and two were decided in a shootout (both wins).

The Canucks' key players, led by brothers Henrik (37 points) and Daniel Sedin (44 points), were often difference makers in those six January victories. They've also received offensive contributions from Jannik Hansen, who's having a solid year with 15 goals, and veteran sniper Radim Vrbata, who has 11 goals.

The Blue Jackets dropped the first game of a three-game Western Canada swing on Tuesday night, a 5-1 defeat at hands of the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. After Thursday's game at Rogers Arena, Columbus finishes out the road trip in Calgary against the Flames on Friday night.

The Blue Jackets and Canucks last met on Nov. 10 at Nationwide Arena and, despite out-shooting the visitors 45-30 and controlling long stretches of the game, it was a disappointing and frustrating finish for the home side.

Boone Jenner opened the scoring early in the first period for the Jackets, but Hansen and Daniel Sedin each tallied a goal in that frame to take a 2-1 lead. On the power play in the dying seconds of the first, Jack Johnson scored and made it a 2-2 game after 20 minutes.

After a scoreless second period, Cam Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal in the third period to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 lead, but the Canucks exploded for three quick goals and left Columbus with a 5-3 win.

The Blue Jackets are 17-26-9 in the all-time series against the Canucks, and won their last game at Rogers Arena: a 6-2 win on Mar. 20, 2015.

Leading the Canucks in scoring, Daniel Sedin has 21 goals and 23 assists so far in 2015-16.

The only player with more assists on the team is his twin brother, Henrik, who’s tallied 28 assists. Daniel is known as the goal scorer of the Sedin tandem and Henrik is known as the play maker.

The 35-year-old Daniel was selected by Vancouver at No. 2 overall in the 1999 NHL Draft, right before his twin brother, and has played all 15 NHL seasons with the Canucks. Daniel serves as an alternate captain to Henrik, who is the team captain.

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