NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 7th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (11-6-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (7-12-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets hope that the momentum from their first two-game winning streak of the season will be enough to get them a rare victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
The Blue Jackets had won just five of their first 21 games before snapping a four-game skid with a 2-1 overtime victory versus the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. They followed up that win with a 4-3 shootout decision over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, their fourth straight game to go beyond regulation.
Sergei Bobrovsky provided a much-needed spark on Tuesday, stopping all 21 shots he faced in nearly 45 minutes of action after relieving Steve Mason early in the second period. Mason allowed three goals on just eight shots faced.
Bobrovsky also stopped both skaters he faced in the shootout, while Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu tallied in the bonus frame. Vinny Prospal posted a goal and an assist in regulation, while Derek MacKenzie and Jack Johnson each scored.
"I sense that our guys have a little more confidence," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "It's nice to see our guys get rewarded because they've been working real hard lately."
Johnson had missed the past four games with a shoulder injury, but logged almost 27 minutes of action as the Blue Jackets posted their first winning streak since winning the final two games of last season. They haven't won three in a row since March 28-31 of last year.
Columbus may have a difficult time staying hot versus Vancouver, which has won 11 of the previous 13 encounters. The Blue Jackets were able to snap a five- game home slide to the Canucks with a shootout win on Dec. 13, 2011.
The Canucks hope their recent history in this series will help them get back on track as they lost for the fourth time in five games on Tuesday with a 3-2 shootout setback to the San Jose Sharks.
Though Vancouver fell to 3-4-3 in its last 10, the club was happy with an effort that saw Henrik Sedin and Jannik Hansen score in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Chris Higgins then opened up the shootout with a goal for the Canucks, but the Sharks got scores from Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski against Cory Schneider in the deciding frame.
"It's frustrating when you play a back-and-forth game, a really tight game, you come back and you lose in a shootout. It's just a little dissatisfying," said Schneider, who made 28 saves on 30 shots, "but I think we're happy with our effort. ... I think if we keep playing like this, the results will come."
The Canucks went 0-for-5 on the power play against the Sharks and have not scored a goal on their last 15 chances on the man advantage spanning the past six games.
Defenseman Keith Ballard left Tuesday's loss during the third period with a lower body injury, while fellow blueliner Kevin Bieksa missed the game with a groin strain.
03/07 10:51:30 ET