HEINZ…it just doesn’t taste the same without it.
|Team Record: 17-9-6 |
Last Game: 3-2 W at Colorado (MAR.24.13)
Season Series: 1-0-1
Last Meeting: 2-1 SO/W (MAR.12.13)
|Team Record: 13-13-6 |
Last Game: 2-5 L at Nashville (MAR.23.13)
Season Series: 1-0-1
Last Meeting: 1-2 SO/L (MAR.12.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (17-9-6) return to Rogers Arena looking to pick up their fifth straight win when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets (13-13-6) for the first and only time this season.What You Need to Know
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- The Canucks are coming off a perfect sweep of their three-game road swing, including netting a 3-2 win in Colorado on Sunday to close out the trip, and will be looking to extend their overall win streak to five games tonight.
- The Canucks return home to Rogers Arena tonight looking to pick up their second straight win on home ice. They haven't won consecutive games at Rogers Arena since winning five in a row from January 23 to February 12.
- The Blue Jackets are playing the second game of their four-game road swing tonight – a trip that began with a 5-2 loss in Nashville on Saturday.
- The Blue Jackets had their franchise-record 12-game streak with a point earned (8-0-4) snapped with that loss on Saturday to the Predators.
- The Canucks will get D Alex Edler back in the lineup tonight. Edler sat out the past two games due to suspension.
- Tonight marks the third and final meeting between the Canucks and Blue Jackets this season. Each team has recorded a 2-1 win over the other with both of the previous games, which were played at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, requiring more than 60 minutes to settle.
- This is the only visit the Blue Jackets will be making to Rogers Arena this season which is probably a good thing as far as Columbus is concerned. Columbus has lost their last five straight visits to Rogers Arena and has not managed an outright win in Vancouver since a 5-3 victory way back on October 5, 2009.
- The Canucks have not lost a regulation game to the Blue Jackets in their last 13 head-to-head meetings going 11-0-2 during that stretch.
- A win tonight would allow the Canucks to temporarily regain top spot in the Northwest Division. They enter play today tied with Minnesota in points with 40 but the Wild will hold two games in hand on the Canucks by the end of tonight.
- This game features two teams that don't have a 10-goal scorer among them on their respective rosters to date. The Canucks and Blue Jackets are among just three teams in the league that don't have at least one goal scorer in double digits. Ottawa is the other team that doesn't have a 10-plus goal scorer this season.
Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- Their power play continues to make a difference. Don't look now but the Canucks' power play is starting to show signs of life. Okay, so they've only scored twice in their last five outings and are just 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) during that stretch but that still sounds a whole lot better than 0-for-30 over an 11-game stretch. If the Canucks continue to be involved in games where scoring chances are few and far between, then making the most of their man-advantage opportunities is essential. Vancouver is a combined 0-for-3 on the PP against the Blue Jackets in two games this season.
- The second line continues to sizzle. Since being put together one week ago tonight in a game against the Blues, the trio of Hansen, Raymond and Schroeder has been red hot combining for four goals and 11 points. The latter two also have team-leading four-game point streaks coming into tonight's contest. These three might not be the usual go-to guys the Canucks are used to but they'd love to continue riding them for as long as they can.
- They come prepared for a no-thrills style road outing. If the first two games in this season series, both played in Columbus, were low-scoring affairs with scoring chances and open ice being little more than rumours, you can imagine what type of game the Blue Jackets are hoping to be able to play when they don't have to even consider entertaining the fans in the stands. That being said, the Canucks have shown over their last three outings that they can play and succeed in these types of games as well.
The Blue Jackets Win If...
- They put Saturday's game quickly behind them. Columbus saw their franchise-record streak come to an end unceremoniously three nights ago but rather than feel sorry for themselves they need to find a way to start fresh tonight. Their streak, if anything, should be proof they can hang with the big boys and give them that belief that they can win on any given night – even tonight in a building they haven't had much recent success in.
- Their penalty kill gets back on track. One of the keys to Columbus' success during their 12-game streak was thanks to a PK that was near perfect. In those 12 outings, they only surrendered one power play goal on 26 times shorthanded. Not surprisingly, their point streak came to an end on Saturday when they gave up multiple power play goals against for the first time in over a month, albeit one PPG was into an empty net. Columbus is 9-6-5 when they don't give up a power play goal this season as opposed to 4-7-1 when they do so, suffice to say, keeping their opponent's power play contained will greatly improve their chances at walking away with two points.
- Bobrovsky bounces back. The 24-year-old netminder had a rare off night on Saturday as he was pulled after allowing four goals on 11 shots. Prior to that, however, Bobrovsky had started 10 of the 12 games during the Blue Jackets' streak (he played in 11 of the 12 games overall) posting a record of 8-0-3 while allowing only 15 goals on 344 shots faced (.956 save percentage). The former Flyer has shown he has the makings of being a top goaltender in this league but his next big task will be to show he can respond well to adversity as well.
Ones to Watch
|KEITH BALLARD |
If Sunday's win in Colorado was a sign of things to come, then Keith Ballard might be petitioning to permanently change his position to forward.
The defenseman-turned-winger played up front for the second time in his last three outings in the win over the Avalanche and did not look out of place. He not only led his team in hits with three as well as matched a personal season-high with four shots but he also drew an assist on Alex Burrows' eventual game-winner. The point was his first since February 12, his second of the season overall, and snapped a 13-game drought.
With Dale Weise now out of the lineup for the foreseeable, the 'Ballard as a forward' experiment has a good chance of continuing tonight. Either way, the 30-year-old will be looking to register points in back-to-back games for the first time this season and the first time since December 2011. Ballard has yet to see action against the Blue Jackets this season. He has one goal and four points in 21 career games versus Columbus.
|RYAN JOHANSEN |
It's always a special occasion whenever a young player gets a chance to play in his hometown and that figures to be the case tonight for Vancouver-native Ryan Johansen when he suits up for the third time in his young NHL career at Rogers Arena.
In his previous two trips to Vancouver, Johansen has managed to net one assist in front of friends and family but he's still in search of that first goal as a pro in Vancouver. He'd love to be able to get that done tonight not only with plenty of supporters in the stands but so he can snap his 11-game goal drought and his six-game point drought.
Johansen has not managed to find the scoresheet since having a career-high four-game point streak snapped in the last head-to-head meeting between the Blue Jackets and Canucks back on March 12. The former fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft has one assist in two games against the Canucks this season, and two assists in five career games versus Vancouver overall.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.