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Blue Jackets at Flames preview

Columbus eyes second place in Metropolitan Division; Calgary tries to end six-game skid

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (43-29-5) at FLAMES (35-32-10)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets look to gain in the race for second place in the Metropolitan Division when they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

The Blue Jackets, 11-1-0 in their past 12 games, hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and trail the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers by one point each for second in the Metropolitan. Philadelphia has played one more game than Pittsburgh and Columbus. 

The Flames, who have been outscored 28-7 during a six-game losing streak (0-6-0), were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention on Monday.


Players to watch

Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past five games, and 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in his past 19 games. 

Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past six games, and leads all NHL defensemen with 16 goals this season.


They said it

"It's been crazy, especially for us. We have been winning a lot and you look at the standings and you don't make up much ground. Teams around you are winning. With five games to go, we still have a tough job here." -- Blue Jackets forward Thomas Vanek

"You come into camp every year with that excitement … especially with our team and the potential we have. The bottom line is we haven't been able to reach it. It makes for a tough couple weeks here, but we're professionals in this dressing room." -- Flames forward Curtis Lazar


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Cam Atkinson

Boone Jenner -- Alexander Wennberg -- Thomas Vanek

Sonny Milano -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Matt Calvert -- Mark Letestu -- Markus Hannikainen

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Ian Cole -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Jack Johnson, Taylor Chorney, Dean Kukan, Alex Broadhurst, Eric Robinson

Injured: Nick Foligno (lower body), Lukas Sedlak (upper body), Josh Anderson (knee)


Flames projected lineup

Sam Bennett -- Mikael Backlund -- Troy Brouwer

Michael Frolik -- Mark Jankowski -- Chris Stewart

Micheal Ferland -- Nick Shore -- Curtis Lazar

Tanner Glass -- Matt Stajan -- Garnet Hathaway

Dougie Hamilton -- Mark Giordano

Michael Stone -- Travis Hamonic

Brett Kulak -- Rasmus Andersson

Jon Gillies

Mike Smith

Scratched: Johnny Gaudreau, Matt Bartkowski

Injured: Sean Monahan (wrist, hip), Kris Versteeg (hip), Matthew Tkachuk (upper body), Marek Hrivik (upper body), TJ Brodie (upper body)


Status report

Nutivaara signed a four-year contract Thursday. … Each team held an optional morning skate. … Gaudreau will miss his second game after returning home to New Jersey to be with his father, Guy Gaudreau, who had a cardiac event March 25.


Stat pack

Vanek has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Atkinson has six points (four goals, two assists) in a five-game point streak, and 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in his past 16 games. … Bobrovsky is 11-3-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and one shutout in his past 14 starts.

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