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Blue Jackets-Canucks Preview @NHL
Blue Jackets-Canucks Preview

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (4-10-0) at Vancouver Canucks (9-2-2).

TIME: Friday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks will try to match their longest home winning streak to start a season when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at GM Place.

The Canucks improved to 6-0 at home as Ed Jovanovski and Jarko Ruutu scored in a 2-1 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday.

Jovanovski has scored goals in three straight home games during the run. Vancouver has also scored 25 of its 45 goals this season at home.

Vancouver has not started a season with seven straight home wins since 1980-81. That team, led by Dave "Tiger" Williams' 35 goals and 343 penalty minutes, did not win more than three home games in a row for the remainder of the season.

The Canucks will look to rookie goaltender Alex Auld to help them even the mark. Auld, playing in place of injured starter Dan Cloutier (concussion), made 16 of his 31 saves in the third period against the Wild.

"There wasn't much to get rattled about tonight," said Auld, who was playing just his 20th NHL game. "I just think it's important to keep all those things inside and you've just got to show everyone else nothing, that's the biggest thing."

The Blue Jackets lost their fifth straight road game Thursday, 2-1 to Calgary. They also lost their star player for at least one game as left wing Rick Nash suffered a left knee injury on a knee-on-knee hit from Calgary's Rhett Warrener.

Nash was playing in just his second game after missing 11 with a high ankle sprain.

"I've already been frustrated all year," said Nash, who was seen hobbling to the team bus after the game.

"There's no point getting more frustrated. I don't know what to do anymore. It's part of the game. It's an injury. I've got to stay positive."

Nash finished tied with Calgary's Jarome Iglinla and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk for the NHL lead in goals with 41 in 2002-03.

Columbus right wing David Vyborny's goal Thursday made him the franchise's all-time points leader, surpassing Geoff Sanderson, dealt earlier this season to Phoenix.

Vyborny has 71 goals and 98 assists in his career. In 16 games against the Canucks, however, he has just three goals and six assists.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 3): Blue Jackets - 8 points, 3rd place (tied), 17 PB, Central Division. Canucks - 20 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Vyborny, Bryan Berard, Adam Foote, Trevor Letowski and Jason Chimera, 3 goals; Berard, 8 assists and 11 points; Jody Shelley, 26 PIM. Canucks - Markus Naslund, 7 goals and 14 points; Ed Jovanovski and Todd Bertuzzi, 9 assists; Mattias Ohlund, 28 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 3): Blue Jackets - Power play: 10.0 percent (9 for 90), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (88 for 104), 7th. Canucks - Power play: 16.4 percent (16 for 97), 20th. Penalty killing: 79.2 percent (61 for 77), 22nd.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (2-7-0, 0 SO, 3.64 GAA); Martin Prusek (2-1-0, 0, 2.10). Canucks - Auld (4-0-1, 0, 2.02); Robert McVicar (no appearances).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.

LAST MEETING: March 21, 2004. Blue Jackets, 5-4. At Vancouver, Nikolai Zherdev scored his second goal with 1:55 remaining to lift Columbus. Artem Chubarov scored twice for the Canucks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 1-7-0 on the road; Canucks - 6-0-0 at home.

Associated Press
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