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game preview

Blue Jackets at Canucks preview

Columbus tied for first wild card from East; Vancouver even with two teams in West

by Kevin Woodley / Independent Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (32-22-15) at CANUCKS (35-26-6)

10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game

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

Elvis Merzlikins

Joonas Korpisalo

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

Thatcher Demko

Louis Domingue

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)


Status report

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.


Stat pack

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.

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