BLUE JACKETS (16-11-2) at CANUCKS (16-8-4)
TV -- SNET-P (HD)
-- Columbus 3-5-2, Vancouver 6-3-1
-- It's the first of this season's four meetings. The Canucks took three in a
row last season after the Blue Jackets drew first blood. The Jackets led in each of the last two matchups but couldn't hold on.
-- The Blue Jackets had been playing pretty good hockey on the road, starting the season off 8-1-0 away from Nationwide Arena, but have hit a 0-3-1 stretch since, including a 3-2 overtime loss in Calgary on Monday. The Canucks have been alternating wins and losses since a four-game winning streak that bridged November and December.
-- It's a tough stretch for the Jackets, playing five games in seven days and six in 10, spanning four time zones. Three games through Western Canada are part of the agenda, and they started it in Calgary. Jarome Iginla scored the game-winner in a 3-2 overtime victory for the Flames.
They got a good jump on the Jackets when Iginla and Brendan Morrison scored in the first 4:25 of the game, chasing Steve Mason
from the nets. Mathieu Garon took over and stopped 20 shots the rest of the way, adding fuel to the debate over who should be No. 1.
"I'm going to continue to go game-by-game," coach Scott Arniel said to the Columbus Dispatch. "I'm not going to get into that stuff. We have two goaltenders who have been outstanding for us this season. They're both going to play.
"I talked to both goaltenders this morning and told them that. Mase is a young goaltender, and every young goaltender struggles with putting the bad goals behind them. It's part of the progression."
-- Can a 2-1 game ever be lopsided? Maybe if you outshoot your opponent 32-12 and allow only one shot in the third period, even if it goes in with 4.5 seconds left, as Jordan Eberle's did in Vancouver's win over Edmonton on Sunday.
The Sedins did their usual thing, with Henrik scoring one goal, Alex Burrows the other and Daniel setting up both. Roberto Luongo
stopped deflections off his defenders and the Canucks had the game they wanted Saturday when Markus Naslund's jersey was retired. What they got in that one was a 5-4 overtime loss to Tampa Bay.
"We weren't happy at all (with Saturday night's game)," Daniel Sedin
said to the Vancouver Sun. "We wanted to have a strong game for Nazzy and we didn't at all. We played a really bad game overall. (Sunday) was a big comeback for us."
-- It isn't true. "Sedin" is not Swedish for "red hot." It just seems that way with Daniel and Henrik these days. Daniel has an eight-game point streak while Henrik has points in seven of his last eight.
-- Columbus forward Jared Boll
has sat out the last two games with back spasms, but is close to returning. Forward Kristian Huselius
(high ankle sprain) may be ready Wednesday after a 22-game absence. … Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (concussion) is out indefinitely. Forward Mason Raymond
is week-to-week while his broken thumb heals. Defenseman Sami Salo
(Achilles tendon) is skating on his own and making better-than-expected progress.
-- For one game at least, one of the best and worst power plays in the NHL traded places. Vancouver's league-leading man-up unit is still at 25.0 percent despite going 0-for-4 in the Edmonton win while Columbus scored on its lone chance against Calgary. The Jackets' 11.7 percent is the worst in the Western Conference and second-worst to Florida's 8.3 percent. The Sedins do much the same thing to the Jackets as they do to everyone else, combining for 10 points in their four games in 2009-10. Luongo is 4-1-3 in eight home starts vs. Columbus while with the Canucks. Neither Columbus goalie has a great record in Vancouver, Mason at 2-2-0 with a 4.64 goals-against average , while Garon is 2-5-0 with a 3.68 GAA.
-- "They were outstanding. That was probably the best game they have played so far this year and we need them to play that way. They made some smart plays with the puck in their end of the rink and were really solid in our end when Edmonton came in. They played the type of game that we need and expect them to play." -- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault on the Sedins' dominant performance against the Oilers