Blue Jackets-Blackhawks Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (8-18-4-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (8-17-7-3).
TIME: Friday, 8:30 p.m. EST.
The Chicago Blackhawks look to build on their first shutout victory of the
season when they host the Central Division-rival Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chicago won for just the second time in 21 games (2-12-4-3), 3-0 over the
St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Rookie goaltender Michael Leighton made 23 saves
for his second career shutout as the Blackhawks snapped a five-game winless
"The team played great," Leighton said. "Having a three-goal lead felt
great. That's a game you have to win. And the team played well defensively. I
just can't say enough about it."
Steve Sullivan, Scott Nichol and Tyler Arnason all scored to give the
Blackhawks their first three-goal output in six games, and the third in 17.
"It was huge," Steve Sullivan said. "We've been known to blow a one-goal
lead in the third period. We kept scoring and working after we got the first
Chicago's 66 goals are third-fewest in the league, topping only Columbus
(65) and Carolina (61).
The hapless Blue Jackets will try for the first road victory of the season.
Columbus has not won since beating Anaheim 2-1 Dec. 2, going 0-6-1-2 since, and
is tied with Pittsburgh for the fewest points in the NHL (33).
The Blue Jackets are coming off a 2-1 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday. Rick Nash
scored his 21st goal of the season against Phoenix and is now tied with
Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk for the NHL lead.
"We've become pretty fragile in the last month," Columbus coach Doug
MacLean said. "There's a confidence factor there. It's not happening right
now, there's no doubt about that."
The Blue Jackets are 0-for-28 with the man advantage in its last four games,
including 0-for-5 against the Coyotes.
"We had our chances on the power play and we're not getting anything
there," MacLean said. "We didn't capitalize."
Chicago has a three point lead over Columbus in the Central Division.
The Blackhawks are 9-5-2-1 in the all-time series and have never lost at
home to the Blue Jackets.