Blue Jackets at Canucks preview
Columbus tied for first wild card from East; Vancouver even with two teams in Westby Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
BLUE JACKETS (32-22-15) at CANUCKS (35-26-6)
10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-O, NHL.TV
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks will each try to gain in their respective wild-card races when they play at Rogers Arena on Sunday.
The Blue Jackets are tied with the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, but 2-6-6 in their past 14 games after a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Goalie Elvis Merzlikins is expected to start for Columbus after missing five games with a concussion. The rookie is 12-9-8 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and five shutouts.
The Canucks are tied with the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets for the first wild card from the West. Their 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday ended a season-long four-game losing streak.
Players to watch
Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist has scored a goal in three straight games.
Canucks forward J.T. Miller has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his past eight games.
They said it
"Just have to keep going. We had some good minutes there. We're on to the next one now. We take the good out of it and keep going the right direction here." -- Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner
"I'm happy we're playing them right away. That's still in the back of our minds. We owe these guys one and we're going to be ready to go tonight." -- Canucks center Bo Horvat on losing to Columbus 5-3 on March 1 after giving up a 3-1 third-period lead
Blue Jackets projected lineup
Alexander Wennberg -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Emil Bemstrom
Nick Foligno -- Boone Jenner -- Gustav Nyquist
Eric Robinson -- Riley Nash -- Kevin Stenlund
Jakob Lilja -- Devin Shore -- Stefan Matteau
Zach Werenski -- Markus Nutivaara
Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard
Scott Harrington -- Andrew Peeke
Scratched: Ryan MacInnis, Gabriel Carlsson
Injured: Seth Jones (ankle), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Oliver Bjorkstrand (ankle), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Nathan Gerbe (groin), Dean Kukan (knee), Alexandre Texier (back), Ryan Murray (undisclosed)
Canucks projected lineup
J.T. Miller -- Elias Pettersson -- Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- Loui Eriksson
Antoine Roussel -- Adam Gaudette -- Zack MacEwen
Tyler Motte -- Brandon Sutter -- Jake Virtanen
Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher
Quinn Hughes -- Christopher Tanev
Oscar Fantenberg -- Tyler Myers
Scratched: Guillaume Brisebois, Jordie Benn
Injured: Jay Beagle (lower body), Micheal Ferland (concussion), Josh Leivo (knee), Tyler Graovac(lower body), Brock Boeser (rib), Jacob Markstrom (lower body)
The Blue Jackets sent goalie Matiss Kivlenieks to Cleveland of the American Hockey League. … Boeser, a forward, said he could return soon after skating with teammates Sunday for the first time since he was injured Feb. 8.
The Blue Jackets are 9-4-8 on the road since Dec. 9. … Foligno has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past six games. … Hughes has 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in his past 20.