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Blue Jackets-Wild Preview @NHL
Blue Jackets-Wild Preview

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (6-18-0) at Minnesota Wild (10-10-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST.

The way the Columbus Blue Jackets are scoring this season, the last thing they need is to face one of the league's best goaltenders.

That, however, is what they will be up against when they face Manny Fernandez and the Minnesota Wild at the XCel Energy Center.

Fernandez has had a very strong season thus far, leading the Western Conference with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. He is 5-1-0 at home with a 1.80 GAA and a .936 save percentage.

Columbus, meanwhile, has scored a league-low 44 goals this season, and has only two wins in 12 road games.

The Blue Jackets ended a seven-game losing streak Saturday with a 4-3 victory at St. Louis, getting goals from unlikely sources Aaron Johnson and Luke Richardson.

Johnson's goal was his third in 31 career games while Richardson's was his 33rd in 18 NHL season.

"It's huge for those guys to step up," coach Gerard Gallant said. "As we all know we're last in the National Hockey League, so to come in here and get a win with other people chipping in is big for our club."

Columbus scored only nine goals during the seven-game skid, and has only two goals in 125 minutes of regulation hockey against Minnesota this season. The Jackets did defeat the Wild in a shootout on Oct. 28.

Minnesota scored three third-period goals as it rallied for a 5-3 victory over St. Louis on Friday.

The Wild, who have won two of three after losing three straight, need a power-play goal Wednesday to set a franchise record with five straight home games with a man-advantage goal.

Marian Gaborik scored his 100th career goal and also had an assist against the Blues in his second game after missing 11 due to a left hip flexor injury sustained Oct. 23 against Chicago.

Gaborik is seventh on the team with 10 points despite playing only five games.

The Wild are 7-2-0 all-time at home against the Blue Jackets and Fernandez is 3-1-0 with a 1.97 GAA at home against Columbus.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 29): Blue Jackets - 12 points, 4th place, 26 PB, Central Division. Wild - 22 points, 5th place, 10 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - David Vyborny, 6 goals; Manny Malhotra, 13 assists; Vyborny, Bryan Berard and Manny Malhotra, 15 points; Jody Shelley, 46 PIM. Wild - Brian Rolston, 9 goals; Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 12 assists and 19 points; Derek Boogaard, 46 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 29): Blue Jackets - Power play: 10.2 percent (14 for 136), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82 percent (137 for 167), tied for 17th. Wild - Power play: 19.8 percent (23 for 116), 8th. Penalty killing: 88.9 percent (113 for 127), 1st.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Martin Prusek (3-3-0, 0 SO, 3.22 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (0-4-0, 4.27). Wild - Fernandez (7-3-1, 2.04); Dwayne Roloson (3-7-1, 1, 2.61).


LAST MEETING: Oct. 29; Wild, 3-1. At Minneapolis, Todd White scored twice and the Wild held Columbus to 16 shots.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 2-10-0 on the road; Wild - 7-4-0 at home.

Associated Press
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