Canucks Game Day: Vancouver, Columbus fit to be tied
Season series to be decided tonight as Cory Schneider gets fifth straight start in net
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks are 1-0-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets this season while the Blue Jackets are 1-0-1 against the Canucks. Impossible you say? Not in the NHL, where teams are awarded a point for losing in overtime or a shootout.
The Canucks and CBJ have split their two meetings so far, each with a 2-1 victory, each coming after regulation. Tonight, the tie will be broken when they meet for the final time in the 2013 lockout shortened season (7 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific, Team 1040).
The Canucks actually haven't lost to the Jackets in regulation since Oct. 5, 2009, a run of 13 games (11-0-2). But they have lost to them twice in the last four meetings, one via overtime and the other in a shootout.
Defenceman Alex Edler will return to the Canucks lineup after completing his two-game suspension for running Phoenix netminder Mike Smith last Thursday. He'll replace Cam Barker. Otherwise the Canucks lineup will remain the same with defenceman Keith Ballard again patrolling left wing on a line with Andrew Ebbett and Alex Burrows.
The Canucks have won four straight while the Blue Jackets have just one regulation loss in their last 13 games (8-1-4), a 5-2 setback Saturday in Nashville.
“I'm expecting another hard battle,” said Burrows. “They work really hard and it seems they turned their season around by playing well defensively and doing all the little things to be successful in this conference. But I like the way we've been approaching the last few games and hopefully we can keep it going tonight.”
Cory Schneider will make his fifth straight start in goal. He's on a four-game win streak and not feeling the least bit fatigued even though it will be his fifth game in eight nights in four different cities.
“No, never,” he responded when asked if he needed a break. “I had four months off. It's good to be back playing and be playing every chance I get. I'm feeling good about it.”
Schneider was also feeling good about having Edler back on the blue line.
“He's a huge asset for us offensively and defensively and he plays in all situations,” Schneider said. “The 'D' did a great job standings in for him when he was out and we'll gladly welcome him back.”
The Canucks allowed two goals in the two games Edler missed and were 1-for-6 on the power play.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are expected to throw these lines at the Canucks: Ryan Johansen between R.J. Umberger and Nick Foligno; Derick Brassard with Mark Letestu and Vinny Prospal; Artem Anisimov with Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson; and a fourth line of Derek MacKenzie between White Rock's Colton Gillies and Jared Boll.
Expected blue-line pairings for the Jackets are Jack Johnson with Fedor Tyutin, Nikita Nikitin with Dalton Proust and old warhorse Adrian Aucoin with John Moore.
Sergei Bobrovsky is scheduled to start between the pipes. He enters the night with a 11-7-5 record, a 2.17 GAA and .927 save percentage. Schneider is 10-5-3 with a 2.32 GAA and .921 save rate.
ICE CHIPS: Neither team has been any good on the power play. The Jackets enter the night 27th in the league at 13.9 per cent while the Canucks are wallowing in 29th at 13.4 per cent ... The Jackets are outstanding on the penalty kill, ranking sixth in the league at 85.2 per cent. The Canucks are 16th at 81.2 per cent ... Referees for tonight's game are Kevin Pollock and Frederick L'Ecuyer.
INJURIES: The Canucks will be missing C Ryan Kesler (foot), LW David Booth (ankle surgery), RW Zack Kassian (back), RW Dale Weise (shoulder) and RW Steve Pinizzotto (illness). The Jackets will be without D James Wisniewski (foot), RW Derek Dorsett (collarbone) and C Brandon Dubinsky (knee).
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