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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (17-32-7-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (17-33-8-4).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to end a four-game losing streak, and climb out of last place in the Western Conference standings when they host the equally hapless Chicago Blackhawks.

Columbus completed an 0-4 road trip with a 4-2 loss at San Jose on Monday. Rostislav Klesla and Anders Eriksson scored for the Blue Jackets, who are winless in their last 11 road contests (0-8-3) and are tied with the Blackhawks for the fewest points in the West.

"We had some momentum going, and we scored the second goal to make it a close game," Columbus interim coach Gerard Gallant said. "We didn't deserve to be in it, don't get me wrong, but we still made it a close game."

Columbus has picked up points in its last four home games, going 3-0-0-1, including a 4-2 win over Nashville on Feb. 16 just before its fruitless four-game trip.

Columbus goalie Fred Brathwaite, who has been on a conditioning assignment since January, was activated Tuesday, meaning rookie Pascal Leclaire, the Blue Jackets' 2001 first-round draft pick, will return to Syracuse of the AHL.

Leclaire lost both of his starts with Columbus, but did stop 34 shots in Monday's loss to San Jose.

The Blackhawks remained tied with the Blue Jackets in the West cellar, suffering a 3-1 loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday. Former Chicago captain Alexei Zhamnov scored the opening goal and another ex-Blackhawk, Tony Amonte, also tallied.

Chicago, which has lost three of its last four games, made a pair of transactions Tuesday. The Blackhawks traded left wing Ville Nieminen to Calgary for forward Jason Morgan and claimed right wing Eric Nickulas off waivers from St. Louis.

STANDINGS: Blackhawks - 46 points, 4th place (tied), 35 PB, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 46 points, 4th place (tied), 35 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Mark Bell, 18 goals, 22 assists and 40 points; Scott Nichol, 108 PIM. Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 33 goals and 44 points; David Vyborny, 22 assists; Jody Shelley, 171 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 23): Blackhawks - Power play: 12.6 percent (34 for 270), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.5 percent (242 for 283), 4th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 13.8 percent (43 for 312), 27th. Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (207 for 249), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Craig Anderson (5-14-0, 1 SO, 2.83 GAA); Michael Leighton (5-14-5, 2, 2.97). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (15-26-7, 3, 2.50); Brathwaite (2-9-1, 3.41).

SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 22; Blackhawks, 7-0. At Chicago, Anderson made 30 saves for his first career NHL victory and shutout as seven different Blackhawks scored. Columbus had won the first two meetings by a combined 6-1 score.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 5-23-3-1 on the road; Blue Jackets - 14-12-4-2 at home.

Associated Press
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