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Canucks at Blue Jackets preview

Vancouver can tie for second in Pacific Division; Columbus holds second wild card in East

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

CANUCKS (34-24-6) at BLUE JACKETS (31-21-14)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, FS-O, NHL.TV


The Game

The Vancouver Canucks can tie the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division with a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.

The Canucks trail the Oilers by two points and the first-place Vegas Golden Knights by four. Their 4-2 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday was their second in a row after going 4-1-1 in their previous six games.

Goalie Louis Domingue could make his Canucks debut. He was acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for goalie Zane McIntyre on Feb. 24.

The Blue Jackets hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference but are 1-5-5 in their past 11 games after a 9-0-1 streak. They can tie the New York Islanders for the first wild card and move within two points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for third in the Metropolitan Division.

Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray returns after missing 34 games with a lower-body injury.


Players to watch

Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a five-game point streak.

Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski leads the NHL at the position with 19 goals.


They said it

"The pressure's on now. This is where we've got to come and play. This is where we've got to get our points. It's crunch time now. The playoffs are really closing in and so are the other teams behind us and we've got to be ready for it." -- Canucks center Bo Horvat

"We need to have that urgency. We need to know what's at stake. We're right in the thick of things right now. There's no time to have a pity party or wallowing in what's going on." -- Blue Jackets forward Riley Nash


Canucks projected lineup

Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- Loui Eriksson

J.T. Miller -- Elias Pettersson -- Tyler Toffoli

Antoine Roussel -- Adam Gaudette -- Jake Virtanen

Tyler Motte -- Jay Beagle -- Brandon Sutter

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Quinn Hughes -- Christopher Tanev

Oscar Fantenberg -- Tyler Myers

Louis Domingue

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Zack MacEwen

Injured: Micheal Ferland (concussion), Josh Leivo (knee), Tyler Graovac (lower body), Brock Boeser (rib), Jacob Markstrom (lower body)


Blue Jackets projected lines

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Nick Foligno

Stefan Matteau -- Alexander Wennberg -- Riley Nash

Devin Shore -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Emil Bemstrom

Eric Robinson -- Kevin Stenlund -- Nathan Gerbe

Zach Werenski -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Andrew Peeke

Joonas Korpisalo

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Gabriel Carlsson, Scott Harrington, Jakob Lilja, Ryan MacInnis

Injured: Elvis Merzlikins (undisclosed), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Alexandre Texier (back), Dean Kukan (knee), Seth Jones (ankle), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Oliver Bjorkstrand (ankle)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. … Gerbe did not practice Saturday. If he is unavailable, MacInnis will replace him at forward.


Stat pack

Miller will play his 500th NHL game. He has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past five. … Foligno has five points (four goals, one assist) in his past five. … Wennberg is one point from 200 in the NHL.

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