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Weekly Report: Columbus visits San Jose, Colorado and Phoenix

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (12-26-1, 25 pts./4th Central Division)

Thu., Jan. 5 at San Jose Sharks, HP Pavilion at San Jose 10:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 7 at Colorado Avalanche, Pepsi Center 3 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 8 at Phoenix Coyotes, Glendale Arena 8 p.m. FSN/WBNS-AM, WWCD-FM FSN-FSN Ohio, WBNS-AM (1460), WWCD-FM (101.1); Times are Eastern

THIS WEEK'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Blue Jackets practices typically last 60 to 90 minutes with media availability following. The schedule for Jan. 3-9 (Tue.-Mon.) is as follows: Tue. – 11 a.m. (Dispatch Ice Haus)… Wed. – 12 p.m. (HP Pavilion at San Jose)… Thu. – 11:30 a.m. (HP Pavilion at San Jose)… Fri. – 12 p.m. (Sun Microsystems Ice Center, Denver)… Sat. – No Practice Scheduled… Sun. – 11:30 a.m. (Glendale Arena, Phoenix)… Mon. – No Practice Scheduled. Practice times are local and subject to change. Only practices at the Dispatch Ice Haus are open to the public.

ROSTER REPORT: Jan. 3 – Assigned D Andy Delmore to Syracuse Crunch (AHL)… Placed D Adam Foote on Injured Reserve… Jan. 2 – Assigned C Mark Hartigan to Syracuse (AHL)… Activated LW Alexandre Picard off Injured Reserve and re-assigned him to Syracuse (AHL)… Dec. 31 – Added D Jamie Pushor on emergency recall from Syracuse (AHL)… Dec. 30 – Signed LW Darcy Verot to a two-way contract… Dec. 29 – Added D Andy Delmore and C Mark Hartigan on emergency recall from Syracuse (AHL).

INJURY REPORT: D Duvie Westcott (upper body injury, Dec. 30 at Chicago) is day-to-day… D Adam Foote (hip, Dec. 28 vs. Anaheim) is day-to-day… C Jan Hrdina (chest contusion, Dec. 28 vs. Anaheim) is day-to-day… D Luke Richardson (fractured jaw, Dec. 21 vs. Dallas) is sidelined indefinitely… D Aaron Johnson (knee sprain, Dec. 23 vs. Nashville) will miss approximately three weeks… D Bryan Berard (back strain) is day-to-day… C Manny Malhotra (shoulder injury, Dec. 8 vs. NY Islanders) is expected to miss eight weeks… C Gilbert Brule (broken leg, Nov. 30 at Minnesota) is out four to six weeks.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: San Jose Sharks – 16-16-5, 37 pts. (5th, Pacific Division)… Third of four meetings this season… Jackets are 5-11-2 in the all-time series, including 1-7-1 on the road… Each has team won 4-1 at home (Oct. 12 at San Jose; Oct. 21 at Columbus)… Head Coach: Ron Wilson… Players to Watch – C Joe Thornton (14-40-54, 3 GWG in 36 games)… RW Jonathan Cheechoo (20-12-32, 10 PPG in 37 games)… G Evgeni Nabokov (8-11-5, 3.06 GAA, .886 SV% in 26 games)… Colorado Avalanche – 20-17-3, 43 pts. (4th, Northwest Division)… Second of four meetings this season… Columbus is 1-15-1 all-time, including 0-8-0 on the road… Avalanche won 5-0 at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 25… Head Coach: Joel Quenneville… Players to Watch – C Joe Sakic (17-26-43, 3 GWG in 40 games)… RW Marek Svatos (20-14-34, 7 GWG in 39 games)… G David Aebischer (11-9-0, 3.59 GAA, .883 SV% in 22 games)… Phoenix Coyotes – 20-18-2, 42 pts. (3rd, Pacific Division)… Second of four meetings this season… Jackets are 4-9-4 in the all-time series, including 0-6-3 on the road… Coyotes won 5-1 at home on Nov. 20… Head Coach: Wayne Gretzky… Players to Watch – LW Ladislav Nagy (13-31-44, 4 GWG in 38 games)… C Mike Comrie (14-16-30, 7 PPG in 39 games)… G Curtis Joseph (16-11-0, 2.65 GAA, .910 SV% in 29 games).

WEEK IN REVIEW: Dec. 26 – at Blue Jackets 4, Chicago 3: Nikolai Zherdev scored with :24 left in regulation to force overtime and Jaroslav Balastik netted the game-winner at 2:35 of the extra session to lead the Blue Jackets to the win. Marc Denis made 42 saves to earn the win in net, while Rostislav Klesla scored a power play goal and Adam Foote added his second shorthanded goal of the season for Columbus. Both teams went 1-of-8 on the power play, while Chicago outshot Columbus 45 to 32, including 28 to 14 in the second and third periods… Dec. 28 – at Blue Jackets 1, Anaheim 0: Marc Denis (40 saves) outdueled Jean-Sebastien Giguere (41 saves) between the pipes and Jason Chimera scored the game's only goal at 16:53 of the third period to lead the Blue Jackets. Columbus was 0-of-10 on the power play, while Anaheim was 0-of-4 with the man advantage… Dec. 30 – Blue Jackets 3, at Chicago 2: Columbus scored three goals in the first period and held on to win its third-straight game and second in a row at the United Center. Nikolai Zherdev and Rick Nash each tallied 1-1-2 and Dan Fritsche also scored a goal for the Blue Jackets, who also got 41 saves from Marc Denis. Mark Bell and Martin Lapointe lit the lamp for the Blackhawks, who outshot Columbus 43 to 21… Dec. 31 – at Detroit 5, Blue Jackets 2: Columbus jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Rick Nash and Jason Chimera before Detroit stormed back to win on New Year's Eve. Chimera scored just :36 in to the second period before the Red Wings answered with three-straight to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Nicklas Lidstrom and Mikael Samuelsson each scored their second goals of the game in the third to round out the scoring. Detroit held a 43 to 15 shot advantage, including 30 to 8 over the final two periods.

DENIS BECOMES THIRD GOALIE IN 20 YEARS TO POST 40 SAVES IN THREE-STRAIGHT STARTS: G Marc Denis went 3-0-0 with a 1.98 GAA, .954 SV% and one shutout in three starts last week, becoming just the third goaltender in the past 20 years to make 40 or more saves in three consecutive starts. The last to do it was Anaheim's Guy Hebert from Jan. 28-Feb. 4, 1998. Denis made 42 saves in a 4-3 overtime win vs. Chicago on Dec. 26; stopped 41 shots to record his 15th career shutout in a 1-0 win over Anaheim on Dec. 28; and turned aside 41 shots in a 3-2 win at Chicago on Dec. 30.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: LW Rick Nash and RW Nikolai Zherdev have led the Blue Jackets' recent efforts to get on track offensively. In eight games since he returned from injury (December 17 at Nashville), Nash has tallied 5-1-6 with goals in five of eight contests. During the same span, Zherdev has notched 3-3-6 to raise his season totals to 11-10-21 in 38 games. Since being a healthy scratch on Nov. 3 at Calgary, Zherdev has registered 10-7-17 in 25 games, including 7-3-10 in his last 13 contests.

BLUE JACKETS BOOK JACKETS PROGRAM CONTINUES ON TUESDAY: The Blue Jackets Book Jackets program is an educational program that uses team celebrities as role models for literacy to help encourage students in grades K-8 to spend more of their free time reading. The program rewards students through incentives based on time children spend reading. This year's program is underway and continued with a reading on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at the Hilliard Branch Library. Blue Jackets C Manny Malhotra will be reading with young fans at the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, located at 4772 Cemetary Rd, from 7 to 8 p.m.

NEWS & NOTES: D Cale Hulse has collected assists in each of the past two games and is three games shy of 600 in his NHL career… LW Jason Chimera has scored goals in three of the past five games after enduring a 16-game goal drought… C Dan Fritsche has tallied 1-1-2 in his last five games after being held to 0-1-1 since his two-goal effort on opening night at Washington on Oct. 5… D Adam Foote is the first Blue Jackets defenseman and just the fifth in the NHL since 2002-03 to score two shorthanded goals in a season… C Sergei Fedorov is five assists shy of 600 in his NHL career… Columbus won a season-high three consecutive games from Dec. 26-30 and is 7-8-1 in its last 16 outings despite missing 66 man games due to injury during that span… The Blue Jackets have scored three or more goals in six of their last eight games, including five-straight from Dec. 17-26, and 10 of their last 16 after notching three or more seven times in their first 23 games of the season… The club is 3-5-1 in its last nine road games after a 1-10-0 start.

JACKETS ON THE RADIO: The Doug MacLean Show airs on WBNS Sports Radio 1460 The Fan on Wednesdays from 3 -4 p.m. with the Blue Jackets President and General Manager and WBNS Radio's Bruce Hooley. Between the Pipes with the Blue Jackets can also be heard on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship station Sports Radio 1460 the Fan on Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m. with hosts Mark Wyant and members of the Blue Jackets broadcast team.

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