Game 24: Canucks vs. Blue Jackets (11.22.13)
There have not been many nights so far in the John Tortorella era where the Canucks have been passengers in a game but that certainly was the case on Tuesday night in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Panthers and their bench boss was not afraid to admit as much. Vancouver has had trouble picking up wins even playing at their best lately – they're winless in five straight while collecting only two of a possible 10 points in the process – so they can ill-afford yet another outing where they're the second-best team in terms of effort level when they face the Blue Jackets tonight.
The Blue Jackets, likewise, come into this game knowing they can't turn in a sub-par performance either if they want to take two points away considering their not-so-stellar record of late. They have just three wins in their last 12 outings albeit one of them came two nights ago in a 2-1 overtime win in Calgary. Vancouver may debut new look lines as they attempt to bring an end to their scoring woes tonight. Yesterday's practice saw Henrik Sedin centering Higgins and Hansen, and Santorelli centering Kesler and Daniel Sedin. Burrows was dropped to the third line to play with Richardson and Kassian. Tonight marks the second and final meeting between the Canucks and Blue Jackets this season. Columbus beat Vancouver 3-1 in their first meeting back on October 20 at the Nationwide Arena.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Don't look ahead. In previous years tonight might be a game the Canucks look past knowing they'll be facing the hated Blackhawks the next night. But given Vancouver's recent inability to beat anyone, they absolutely need to be 100 percent focused on doing what it takes to beat the Blue Jackets.
Daniel bumps his slump. 7 games without a goal and 6 without a point is simply unacceptable for a player who is not only supposed to be one of Vancouver's most prolific scorer but also one of the league's best players. Daniel needs to play a leading role to get his team out of their offensive funk.
Bobrovsky activates Vezina mode. Considering Columbus has yet to win a game this season when they've allowed more than two goals, it's safe to suggest they'll need a near-perfect performance from their netminder tonight. It might not be too hard, though, against a Canucks team that hasn't scored more than two goals in a game in over two weeks.
By the Numbers
Games played in by Blue Jackets off-season signee Nathan Horton this season.
Win percentage for the Blue Jackets against Western Conference teams this season (2-3-0).
Win percentage for the Canucks against Eastern Conference teams this season (7-3-2).
Straight home wins for the Canucks over the Blue Jackets dating back to January 5, 2010.
Straight games without a goal for Daniel Sedin. He has 29 shots over those seven games.
Career games played in for Dan Hamhuis after he suits up tonight against the Blue Jackets.