Blue Jackets-Wild Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (20-39-8-4) at Minnesota Wild (22-26-20-2).
TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST.
Still harboring hopes of a late playoff push, the Minnesota Wild will try to
extend a four-game unbeaten streak when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Minnesota, which made an improbable run to the Western Conference finals
last season before falling to Anaheim, improved to 1-0-3 in its last four with
Wednesday's 1-1 tie at Vancouver.
Andrew Brunette scored a power-play goal and Dwayne Roloson stopped 29 shots
for the 12th-place Wild, who are 12 points behind St. Louis and Nashville for
the final two playoff spots in the West.
The tie was Minnesota's 20th of the season, tops in the NHL and just four
shy of the NHL record set by Philadelphia in 1969-70.
"If half of those are wins, we're in a playoff situation," Roloson said.
The Wild had a chance to get two points, but Roloson gave up the tying goal
with 4:17 left in regulation and Minnesota's Filip Kuba hit the post on a shot
with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Columbus, an NHL-worst 5-23-4-2 on the road, has dropped five straight
overall, including Saturday's 5-3 loss in St. Louis. Alexander Svitov and
Trevor Letowski scored for the Blue Jackets, who kicked off a five-game road
Blue Jackets goalie Fred Brathwaite left Saturday's game after the first
period. He was hit by a long shot from St. Louis' Bryce Salvador. Marc Denis
took over for Brathwaite, whose status for Sunday has not been disclosed.
STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 52 points, 5th place, 42 PB, Central Division.
Wild - 66 points, 5th place, 25 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 37 goals and 51 points; David
Vyborny, 30 assists; Jody Shelley, 191 PIM. Wild - Brunette, 14 goals, 28
assists and 42 points; Matt Johnson, 161 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 12): Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.8 percent
(52 for 352), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.6 percent (235 for 281), 20th.
Wild - Power play: 12.8 percent (36 for 281), 28th. Penalty killing: 84.6
percent (209 for 247), 10th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (17-30-7, 4 SO, 2.57 GAA); Brathwaite
(3-10-1, 0, 3.36). Wild - Roloson (15-16-11, 4, 1.88); Manny Fernandez (7-12-9,
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 31; Blue Jackets, 2-1, OT. At Columbus, Anders Eriksson's
long slap shot deflected off a Minnesota player and beat Roloson just under
three minutes into overtime as the Blue Jackets evened the season series. It
was only Eriksson's second goal of the season, and just the 16th of his
382-game NHL career. Sergei Zholtok scored for Minnesota.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 5-22-4-2 on the road; Wild - 13-13-7-1 at