|VAN||3||3||1||(0 - 0)||7|
|CBJ||0||1||2||(0 - 0)||3|
CANUCKS (19-8-5) at BLUE JACKETS (17-13-3)
TV -- SNET-Vancouver (HD); FS-Ohio (HD)
Last 10 -- Vancouver 7-1-2; Columbus 3-5-2
Season series -- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Canucks beat Columbus in 3-2 eight days ago when Ryan Kesler completed a hat trick by scoring in overtime. Vancouver has won the last four games between the teams, including both trips to Nationwide Arena last season. The teams don't see each other again until March 1.
Big story -- The teams finish the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule by meeting for the second time in just over a week. The Jackets are coming off a 3-1 home win against Columbus that marked Mathieu Garon's first game as the "official" No. 1 goaltender. Vancouver lost 5-4 in overtime at Detroit, but the point was enough to move the Canucks ahead of Colorado into first place in the Northwest Division.
Canucks -- The Canucks had a chance to come to Columbus looking for a sweep of their three-game Midwest trip, but couldn't hold a late lead in Detroit on Wednesday and lost in overtime on a goal by Henrik Zetterberg.
One positive note was that the Canucks' power play continues to make opponents pay for their indiscretions. Vancouver was 2-for-3 in Detroit, scoring twice in the second period. They lead the NHL with a 24.6 percent success rate.
"We're moving the puck really well and we're winning face-offs which is key against this team," Daniel Sedin said of the team's impressive man-advantage play in the second. "Overall this season we're playing with a lot of confidence when we're out there as a group."
Blue Jackets -- Columbus had gotten away from the aggressive style of play that led to its early-season success. But coach Scott Arniel says it's coming back.
"With the exception of two or three periods in Edmonton we've been real consistent in our style of play," he told the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday. "Going into the second half of the year it's (about) having an identity as a group and I think we are getting that identity as an attack, pressure team. I think the teams that are playing us recognize that."
Who's hot -- The Canucks have plenty of hot scorers. Kesler, who attended Ohio State, has 6 goals and 12 points in seven games. Daniel Sedin has 5 goals and 16 points in 11 games, while twin brother Henrik is 5-10-15 in the same span.
Injury report -- Vancouver forward Mason Raymond is still week-to-week with a broken thumb. … Rick Nash and Ethan Moreau had maintenance days and did not participate in Wednesday's practice but are expected to dress for the Jackets.
Stat pack -- Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon is 10-2-4 at Nationwide Arena with a .924 save percentage in 20 games the past two seasons. … Columbus is 13-2-0 when scoring first.
Puck drop -- "It's difficult. It's a different mindset for me and a different way to approach things, but once you're in the game, the game doesn't change. It's my job to be prepared, and be ready, for whenever I do play." -- Vancouver's Cory Schneider on life as a backup goaltender. He's likely to get the call against Columbus.