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Canucks up next as Blue Jackets go for six in a row

by Eric Goodman

CANUCKS (11-7-6) at BLUE JACKETS (10-12-4)


Last 10: Vancouver 3-4-3; Columbus 6-2-2

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. Columbus took the first game at home with a 2-1 overtime victory this past Thursday. The Blue Jackets have won two straight home games against the Canucks.

Big story: The Blue Jackets are riding a five-game winning streak and will try to tie the franchise record of six straight victories, but remain in last place in the Central Division. On Monday, their goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was rewarded for his recent stellar performance by being named the NHL's first star for the week ending March 9. Bobrovsky had a League-high four wins last week along with a 0.77 goals-against average, .972 save percentage and one shutout.

Team Scope:

Canucks: The goalie see-saw will tip toward Roberto Luongo at Columbus, as the team confirmed Monday that Cory Schneider will sit following losses in three consecutive starts last week. The Canucks have lost four straight, although they did manage to grab two points with a shootout and overtime loss to the Sharks and Blue Jackets, respectively. Vancouver finds itself tied with the Wild in points for the lead in the Northwest Division after it lost to Minnesota, 4-2, on Sunday.

"It's tough right now, we're being tested and that's why we need each and every guy in here to pull along," Daniel Sedin said.

Blue Jackets: Besides the fantastic goaltending from Bobrovsky, Columbus has also received a tremendous effort on the penalty-killing unit. A goal by the Red Wings' Johan Franzen ended the Jackets' streak of nine games without giving up a power-play goal, but the team pulled through with some highlight-reel goals in the shootout to win 3-2 on Sunday.

"Guys are working really hard," coach Todd Richards said. "They earned all the points that we've gotten over the past six, seven games or whatever it is."

Who's hot: Henrik Sedin is in the midst of a seven-game points streak for the Canucks, with four goals and five assists over that span. … Bobrovsky is 6-1-1 in his past eight starts for the Blue Jackets, with a 1.62 GAA and two shutouts over that span.

Injury report: Defenseman Keith Ballard (charley horse) returned to the Canucks' lineup Sunday. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa (groin) did not play Sunday and has missed four straight games. With forwards Ryan Kesler (foot) and Manny Malhotra (eye) still out, the Canucks recalled forward Andrew Ebbett from Chicago (AHL) on Monday. … For the Blue Jackets, forward Derek Dorsett (clavicle) was hurt last week against Vancouver and is out for the season. Forward Brandon Dubinsky (knee) has been out since getting hurt in a game on Feb. 16. Defensemen John Moore (shoulder) and James Wisniewski (foot) are on injured reserve.

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