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Jackets, Hawks hope to get back on winning track

by Brian Hunter
BLUE JACKETS (3-3-0) at BLACKHAWKS (5-3-1)


Season Series:
Second of six meetings this season between these Central Division rivals. The Blue Jackets will be looking to repay the Blackhawks for ruining their opener at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 15 -- Patrick Sharp scored twice and had a career-high 13 shots in Chicago's 5-2 win.

Big Story:
It's the second night of a back-to-back situation for both teams, one of which will come out of the game with consecutive losses. Columbus hits the road after falling at home to Calgary, while Chicago returns to the United Center after getting doubled up in St. Louis.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets:
Home has not been the happiest place for Columbus, which just hit the middle of a five-game stretch where the other four contests are all in Ohio. The Blue Jackets have turned in uninspired performances in two of their first three games at Nationwide, including Friday's 6-2 loss to the Flames, who entered as the NHL's worst offensive team. They blitzed Steve Mason and his teammates, however, with Rene Bourque recording the hat trick.

"It shouldn't happen," captain Rick Nash said. "We are at home in front of our home fans. We are just disappointed in the effort we put in tonight."

Added coach Scott Arniel: "We're getting an awful lot of mileage out of our grit players and we need more from some of our top people."

A four-game winning streak for Chicago came to an end Friday despite Sharp's seventh goal of the season, which tied him for the team lead with Marian Hossa, one behind the League leader, Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos. The Blackhawks never led against the Blues, but they did battle back to wipe out a pair of one-goal deficits as Sharp and Brent Seabrook lit the lamp.

"We've got to play Chicago Blackhawk hockey from the start and when we don't do that, that's when we give up the lead right away," forward Jack Skille said. "We were playing from behind so we were still pretty positive in here. Nobody got down."

Who's Hot: Derek Dorsett, who scored 4 goals in each of his first two seasons with the Blue Jackets, has 2 goals in his last three games. Derek MacKenzie has 2 goals and 1 assist during a three-game points streak. … Sharp has 6 goals in the Blackhawks' last five games.

Injury Report: Columbus defenseman Kris Russell missed Friday's game with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Mike Commodore (hand) and forwards Andrew Murray (knee), Jared Boll (back) and Ethan Moreau (hand) are all on injured reserve. … Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell is on injured reserve with a sprained knee.

Stat Pack: It would seem the Blue Jackets need to shoot more -- they're next-to-last in the League in shots per game (26.3) and when certain players do put the puck on net, it tends to go in. R.J. Umberger (3 goals on 9 shots), Dorsett (2 goals on 6 shots) and MacKenzie (2 goals on 6 shots) all have shooting percentages of 33.3 while Kristian Huselius (3 goals on 13 shots) is at 23.1 percent. … Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has been held to 2 assists over the last five games and is stuck on 1 goal for the season.

Puck Drop:
Columbus has dealt with its fair share of injuries in the early-going, with Moreau's loss particularly damaging. An offseason addition, he scored the overtime goal in Stockholm to give the team a split of its season-opening series with San Jose but is now out 4-6 weeks following surgery to reset at least two broken bones in his right hand.

"It's definitely a big blow," Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. "He was really coming into his own here, really contributing to our line and in the room. Unfortunately, this is what happens in hockey. You lose guys."

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