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Blue Jackets hoping for third straight win

by Brian Hunter

CANUCKS (11-6-5) at BLUE JACKETS (7-12-4)


Last 10: Vancouver 3-4-3; Columbus 3-5-2

Season series: First of three meetings, all over the span of the next three weeks. The Canucks took three of four meetings last season, with all their wins coming with Cory Schneider in net. Daniel Sedin led all scorers with three goals.

Big story: Before this week, the Blue Jackets hadn't strung together consecutive wins all season. Now they'll try to make it three in a row against a Canucks team that has been playing inconsistent hockey for several weeks.

Team Scope:

Canucks: This is the start of a three-game road trip for Vancouver, with a pair of stops in Columbus sandwiched around a date with Northwest Division-rival Minnesota. The Canucks have been unable to pull away from the Wild thanks to an 0-4-1 stretch -- on Tuesday, they erased a 2-0 deficit against the Sharks on second-period goals by Henrik Sedin and Jannik Hansen, but went on to lose 3-2 in a shootout. Chris Higgins scored in the first round, but Logan Couture scored in the third round to keep San Jose alive and Joe Pavelski followed with the winner past Schneider.

"If your power play is minus-1, it's tough to win games," Henrik Sedin said, referring to a shorthanded goal the Canucks yielded to Adam Burish, as well as a missed opportunity on the man-advantage in overtime. "We've got to start scoring goals and that's the bottom line."

Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky saved the day for Columbus, quite literally, in a come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. After both teams traded chances and goals in a 2-2 first period, Magnus Paajarvi scored in the opening minute of the second and Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards elected to replace Steve Mason with Bobrovsky. All he did was stop 21 straight shots, and eventually two shootout attempts. Jack Johnson drew the Jackets even, and then Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu connected in the penalty-shot tiebreaker to earn the second point.

"We have been playing in a lot of tight games lately," Vinny Prospal, who scored a power-play goal in the first period, said. "We were behind and we had to go and create some offense. Sergei stepped in and he really shut the door. That was probably the biggest difference in the game for us -- him making those saves."

Who's hot: Hansen has goals in three straight games for the Canucks. Henrik Sedin has two goals and five assists during a five-game point-scoring streak. … Prospal (3-2-5) and Letestu (0-5-5) have four-game point-scoring streaks active for the Blue Jackets. Bobrovsky has stopped 39 of 40 shots over his past two games.

Injury report: Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard left Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day, as is fellow blueliner Kevin Bieksa (groin). Forwards Manny Malhotra (eye) and Ryan Kesler (foot) are on injured reserve. … Columbus defenseman Nikita Nikitin (upper body) is day-to-day. Defensemen James Wisniewski (foot) and John Moore (upper body) and forward Brandon Dubinsky (knee) are on injured reserve.

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