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Jackets hope to bounce back against Canadiens

by Brian Hunter /
BLUE JACKETS (12-7-3) at CANADIENS (11-11-1)

Last 10: Columbus 6-2-2; Montreal 5-4-1

Season series: First and only meeting of the season. Kristian Huselius and Derick Brassard converted in the shootout to give Columbus a 4-3 win on home ice in the most recent meeting on Nov. 7, 2008. Marc Methot and Fredrik Modin scored 34 seconds apart in the third period as the Jackets turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, but the Canadiens forced overtime and earned themselves a point when Sergei Kostitsyn tallied with 40.9 seconds left in regulation.

Big Story: Fresh off the first postseason berth in franchise history, Columbus is once again in line to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and currently sits tied for second in the Central Division. However, there are some troubling numbers that were accentuated in Monday’s 7-4 loss to the New York Rangers. Steve Mason was pulled after allowing four goals in 26 minutes and has a 3.59 goals-against average for the season. As a team, the Jackets are third from the bottom in goals allowed per game.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: It all seemed to go wrong at once for Columbus in its visit to Madison Square Garden. Holding a 2-0 lead midway through the first period, the Jackets gave up three goals to the Rangers in less than six minutes, then were buried in the second by three more goals in a 71-second span. They are now 1-1-1 on their five-game road trip.

''We got off to a good start. They took a timeout and they turned up the heat. We didn't,'' defenseman Mike Commodore said. ''They are quick and we were on our heels a little bit. Then it was 7-2 before we knew it.

''We were still in it after the first. Then the second period was just a disaster.''

Canadiens: Coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to Detroit on Saturday in which Mike Cammalleri scored twice in the third period to rally Montreal to a point, the team pulled off a trade on Monday. The Canadiens sent fourth-year forward Guillaume Latendresse to the Wild in exchange for Benoit Pouliot. The fourth pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft has nine goals and nine assists in 65 games over parts of four seasons with Minnesota.

''I'm all about speed and offense. That's my game,'' Pouliot said via conference call after the deal went down. ''I'm ready to work hard and prove what I can do to my new team.''

Who's Hot: Huselius scored against the Rangers to extend his points streak to five games (four goals, four assists). Cammalleri has three goals and four points in his last two games.

Injury Report: Columbus placed forward Derek Dorsett on injured reserve with a concussion. Modin has not played yet this season due to a knee injury.

Montreal forward Scott Gomez missed Saturday's game with a lower-body injury suffered the previous night in Washington. Forward Brian Gionta is out with a broken bone in his left foot. Forward Matt D'Agostini has a concussion. Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrei Markov also remain out of the lineup.

Stat Pack: The Blue Jackets have now allowed at least six goals in a game six times. It only happened three times for the entire 2008-09 season.

Puck Drop: This is the only game on Tuesday's schedule. It seems every time the Canadiens get a couple players back in their lineup, a couple others depart. Besides the recent injuries to Gionta and Gomez, forward Georges Laraque – who just returned after missing 13 games with a back injury – was handed a five-game suspension for a leg-on-leg hit Saturday that injured Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

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