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Canucks-Blue Jackets Preview

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Canucks-Blue Jackets Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (28-15-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (17-30-2).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks look for their fifth win in six games and will try to keep pace in the Northwest Division standings when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Vancouver had its four-game winning streak snapped by an unlikely opponent, falling 4-0 Monday to the St. Louis Blues - owners of the league's worst record.

The loss came two days after Vancouver tied a franchise-record with six goals in the first period of a 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

"We didn't do good things throughout the entire game," said Vancouver coach Marc Crawford, whose team out-shot St. Louis 34-22. "I don't think we had enough guys who worked hard enough and we end up with that type of result when that happens."

Despite the loss, the Canucks have outscored opponents 22-10 in the last five games, including eight power-play goals. Center Henrik Sedin has three goals and both he and twin brother, Daniel, each have five assists in that span.

Markus Naslund has scored just twice in his last 12 games, but continues to lead the team with 23 goals. He has scored 15 goals in 16 games against the Blue Jackets.

The Canucks have won 11 of the 17 games in the series, but have just one win in their last four trips to Columbus.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 7-2 loss Saturday to the Nashville Predators on Saturday in which backup goaltender Pascal Leclaire faced 48 shots.

In three games this month, Leclaire has faced 148 shots, giving up 13 goals.

Columbus coach Gerard Gallant thought his team played a solid game for 40 minutes before collapsing in the third period. He pointed to eight penalties by the Blue Jackets as the difference in the game.

"For two periods we were right with them," Gallant said. "If it wasn't for the penalties I thought it was an even hockey game. Everything just went against us."

Rick Nash is trying to avoid a season-high fourth straight game without a point, as the all-star left wing has not scored, since tallying the game-winning goal in a 4-3 win Jan. 16 over the New York Rangers.

He has scored 12 goals and 19 points in 18 games, after missing 31 with a sprained knee, suffered on Nov. 3 in a loss to Calgary.

A member of the Canadian team headed next month to the Turin Olympics, Nash has five goals and seven points in eight career games against the Canucks.

STANDINGS: Canucks - 61 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division. Blue Jackets - 36 points, 4th place, 31 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 23 goals and 52 points; Henrik Sedin, 33 assists; Todd Bertuzzi, 78 PIM. Blue Jackets - Nikolai Zherdev, 14 goals; David Vyborny and Bryan Berard, 18 assists; Zherdev and Vyborny, 31 points; Jody Shelley, 102 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 19.3 percent (63 for 326), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (247 for 301), 17th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 13.8 percent (38 for 275), 28th. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (276 for 334), 14th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Alex Auld (20-11-3, 0 SO, 2.71 GAA); Maxime Ouellet (0-2-1, 0, 4.00). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (10-17-0, 1, 3.31); Leclaire (4-10-2, 0, 3.73).

SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 4; Canucks, 5-3. At Vancouver, British Columbia, Carter scored the game-winner and assisted on two other tallies. Zherdev scored twice for Columbus.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 10-13-2 on the road; Blue Jackets - 11-12-0 at home.


Associated Press
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