Gilbert Brule knew he would be playing in Vancouver this year.
The question was what uniform would he be wearing?
Would it be the blue and red of the Columbus Blue Jackets as the club made their two visits to the GM Palace this season?
Or would the rookie be sporting the sweater of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants?
Tonight Brule and the Columbus Blue Jackets battle the Vancouver Canucks at 10 p.m. ET. Coverage begins on FSN Ohio with IceBreaker at 9:30 p.m. Interesting enough, this will be the club’s first game on Tuesday this season and the franchise’s first ever appearance on Nov. 28.
Brule, in his rookie season with the Blue Jackets after being tabbed with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 Entry draft, has scored 1-2-3 in 18 games with Columbus this year, seeing mostly action on the fourth line. In 165 games with the Giants, the 5-10 center scored 87-98-185 creating quite the fan base in Vancouver.
Another young Jacket that loves to play the Canucks is winger Nikolai Zherdev, who has scored 6-4-10 in six career games against the Canucks.
Zherdev missed the Jackets and Canucks first meeting of the season in the teams’ first game of the year, when Vancouver defeated the Jackets, 3-2 in overtime at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 6. In that game, David Vyborny and Mark Hartigan lit the lamp for the CBJ, which led 2-0 heading into the final period. Brendan Morrison and Daniel Sedin tied the score with third-period tallies and Sedin won it 31 seconds into the extra frame.
Despite being just 1-1-0 in two games since Ken Hitchcock took over the reins, Columbus has been more active on offense, out-shooting its’ opponents, 74 (37.0) – 44 (22.0) after being out-shot 603 (30.2) – 583 (22.0) over the first 20 games of the season.
Veteran Sergei Fedorov has led the offensive resurgence, scoring 2-2-4 in the two games, while peppering opposing netminders with 19 shots on goal.
The Canucks have lost two straight games, meanwhile, but have won their last two games played in Vancouver. The club is 5-5-0 at home and 6-7-1 away, giving the club an 11-12-1 overall record this season.
They are led by the Sedin twins, who have combined to post 9-34-43 in 47 games this season. Roberto Luongo has been solid in the net, posting an 11-10-1 mark with a 2.54 GAA and a .905 SV%.
The Blue Jackets have posted a 5-12-4 mark in the all-time series, including a 2-7-1 record at General Motors Place.