Canucks v Blue Jackets Preview

The past weekend was quite an eventful one that included the festivities of the retirement of franchise leading scorer Markus Naslund’s jersey, a home loss to the Lightning and a dominant road victory against the Oilers.

Vancouver’s next game will be at Rogers Arena on Wednesday night when the Canucks host Columbus. The Blue Jackets most recent meeting was a 3-2 overtime loss to the Flames in Calgary. That was the first of a short 3 game road trip; the Jackets have been struggling as the visiting club, loosing their last four games away from home. Rick Nash is on a hot streak scoring a point in his last four games; against the Rangers on December 11th he had 2 goals and 1 assist.

Antoine Vermette has 9 goals 8 assists - 17 points in 29 games, he also registered an assist and 2 goals in his most recent outing. RJ Merger and Derick Brassard are currently second and third in team points.

Brassard is a minus 1 in 4 of the last 5 games Umberger isn’t much better, he’s been at least a minus 1 in 3 of the last 5 and was a minus 2 versus Calgary. The biggest concern for head coach Scott Arniel may by in net, as he had to replace Steve Mason again on Monday night.

On Sunday evening Vancouver’s defense held a master class by limiting the young Oilers offense to a total of 12 SOG and only allowing 1 shot in the entire 3rd period preventing Luongo’s shutout.

Burrows and Henrik Sedin both scored their 5th goals of the season against Edmonton, Daniel Sedin and Kesler both earned an assist. The Canucks defense has been helping out its team in the opponent’s offensive zone as well. Ballard, Hamhuis and Edler each have at least 1 point in the last 5 games. Ballard even scored a goal against Tampa on Saturday.

Vancouver certainly know how to put the “special” in special teams, the Canucks are currently 1st in the NHL on the power play with 25.0% and a PK of 85.0% placing them 6th in the league for penalty kills. Columbus isn’t quite so impressive sitting 29th with 11.7% on the PP and 80.5% placing them 23rd on the PK.

In The Sick Bay:

Blue Jackets Derek MacKenzie questionable for Wednesday's game against Vancouver with a groin injury, Jared Boll also questionable for Wednesday's game with back problems and Kristian Huselius on IR high with an ankle sprain.

Canucks Sami Salo on IR for Achilles heel problems, Christian Ehrhoff out indefinitely following a concussion and Mason Raymond out indefinitely with a broken thumb.

Notes: Jackets head coach Arniel will be facing some familiar foes, as this is his first tenure as an NHL boss, he was previously appointed as the coach of the Canucks AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose.

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