Game Preview #27 - What the Canuck?

USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks swing back through yet again while on their wacky road trip.

Vancouver Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets

March 12, 2013 - 7:00pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Nucks Misconduct
SBNation Game Page
Tickets

These Canucks are reeling; the Jackets are streaking. Have I awoken in bizarro world?

In all seriousness, Vancouver has seen their division lead evaporate as they've gone just 3-5-4 since an 8-2-2 start. They've lost four in a row (0-2-2) and six of seven (1-4-2). Times are tough in the Couve.

The Jackets are riding some kind of wave right now, with a 6-2-2 run going, including five straight wins and points in seven straight. A win or a point tonight would tie franchise records in both categories.

And, in the short term, things might be getting just a tough better for Columbus, as the Jackets have activated Brandon Dubinsky from IR and he will go tonight. He'll draw in on the second line (where the still-out Artem Anisimov would normally be) and push Nick Drazenovic down to the fourth line. Derek MacKenzie looks to be out tonight with what is being called a nagging upper-body injury.

The Jackets have been winning with good defense and solid goaltending, and Sergei Bobrovsky gets a chance to continue his hot streak. He'll be starting his fourth straight game, and making his sixth straight appearance. Columbus is 5-0-0 in his last five appearances (four starts, one relief). If Bob--the NHL's #1 star of the week last week--can stay hot, this team seems to be able to play with just about anyone.

The Canucks were hoping to get Kevin Bieksa back tonight, but it looks like he won't play. Roberto Luongo will get the start in net after Cory Schneider started the previous three games.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(10-12-4, 24 Points; 5th division, 13th conference)

R.J. Umberger Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Derick Brassard Mark Letestu Vinny Prospal
Colton Gillies Nick Drazenovic Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Tim Erixon Adrian Aucoin
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Steve Mason

Vancouver Canucks
(11-7-6, 28 Points; 2nd Division, 6th Conference)

Daniel Sedin Henrik Sedin Alexandre Burrows
Jannik Hansen Mason Raymond Chris Higgins
David Booth Andrew Ebbett Zack Kassian
Dale Weise Maxim Lapierre Tom Sestito
Dan Hamhuis Jason Garrison
Alexander Edler Chris Tanev
Cam Barker Keith Ballard
Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider

Season Series

03/07/13 - Vancouver 1 at Columbus 2 (OT)
03/12/13 - Vancouver at Columbus
03/26/13 - Columbus at Vancouver

Head to Head

Vancouver Columbus
2.67 (16) GPG 2.23 (28)
2.58 (12) GAPG 2.73 (14)
15.0% (24) PP% 13.2% (29)
80.2% (17) PK% 85.7% (5)
Daniel Sedin, 8 G leader Vinny Prospal, 9
Henrik Sedin, 18 A leader Fedor Tyutin, 13
Henrik Sedin, 24 Pts leader Vinny Prospal / Fedor Tyutin, 14
Dale Weise, 36 PIM leader Jared Boll, 74
5-4-3 Road/Home 7-4-3
3/10 @ Minnesota, L 4-2 Last Game 3/10 @ Detroit, W 3-2 (SO)
3-4-3 Last 10 6-2-2
    Game Notes
  • No Kesler - Leaving this in from last week: "Nothing of note here, other than we won't get to watch the game with the potential of a Kesler/Umberger dust-up at any moment."
  • Special Teams - Detroit finally broke the Columbus streak of penalities killed with that (ridiculous, NHL) 5-on-3 goal in the third period on Sunday. That said, they still killed off five of six, and they've killed off 26-of-27 over their last 10 games. And Dubi's back tonight. And Vancouver's PP unit is scuffling. So, there's all of that.
  • Brass Ring - Derick Brassard will be playing in his 300th NHL game tonight. Remember in 2008 when he had 10/15/25 in 31 games before getting hurt? Ugh. Sorry to throw some shit-icing on that cake, but 299 games, 55/109/164. Oh, what could have been.

Columbus has looked--almost--like not the worst team in the league over their last seven games. These Canucks are not unbeatable anymore. The Jackets need to continue building, and maybe steal one tonight.

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