Blackhawks-Blue Jackets Preview
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
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
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
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.