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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets

Hey, it's John Tortorella. We know that guy!

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (6-4-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets

Time 4:00 PM PT TV Sportsnet Pacific
H2H (2014/15) Split 1 game each Last Meeting 6-2 Blue Jackets - March 19, 2015
The Enemy The Cannon Scoring Leaders

VAN: Daniel Sedin (4-7-11)

CBJ: Scott Hartnell (7-4-11)

Canucks Category Blue Jackets
6-4-5 Season Record 4-11-0
17 Points 8
2nd Division Position 8th
Lost 3 Streak Lost 1
2.80 Goals For Per Game 2.33
2.40 Goals Against Per Game 3.60
14.6 Power Play % 18.2
85.7 Penalty Kill % 73.5
30.3 Shots Per Game 29.3
27.9 Shots Against Per Game 30.2


Last Game at a Glance

The Canucks erased a 3-1 deficit against the New Jersey Devils to force overtime, but fell short as Kyle Palmieri scored the game-winning goal 3:33 into the extra period.

Vancouver struck first with a goal from Chris Higgins just 2:20 into the game, but the Devils answered back with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead heading into the final period.

Vancouver had plenty of power play opportunities (six to be exact), but couldn't take advantage as New Jersey managed to kill each one off without allowing a goal.

The Canucks didn't get a chance to face Corey Schneider, who finally had the night off after playing the last ten games. Instead, Keith Kinkaid stopped 28 shots on net to help lead the Devils to the win. 13 of his 28 saves came while the Canucks were on the power play.

A Reunion with Torts

The Canucks will face their former head coach John Tortorella tonight for the first time since he was fired after a disappointing season in Vancouver two years ago. Tortorella, who did not coach in the NHL last year, was hired by Columbus on October 21 after the Blue Jackets started the year 0-7-0.

On Monday, Daniel and Henrik Sedin stopped by Nationwide Arena to visit with their former coach. Tortorella, of course, was criticized during his year with Vancouver for overworking the Sedins by having them on the ice for too long during games. Despite that, Tortorella said his relationship with the Sedins is one he'll treasure whether he's around hockey or not.

Canucks Lineup Notes

The big lineup news tonight is the season debut of Jacob Markstrom, who was recalled from Utica after a two-game conditioning stint.

On the fourth line, Adam Cracknell draws in for Jake Virtanen. On the blue line, Chris Tanev is close to being ready to go, but for now, Alex Biega will be paired up with Alex Edler.

Big Country Drops the Gloves

We all knew Jake Virtanen was a physical presence who isn't afraid to go out there and hit some guys. But against the Devils, he got into his first NHL fight, dropping the gloves with Bobby Farnham in the later stages of the 2nd period.

After the fight, Farnham raised his arms to pump up the crowd, a move that Brandon Prust was none too pleased about.


Last Game at a Glance

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 4-2 loss to Anaheim, narrowly missing a California sweep for the first time in five seasons.

The Ducks jumped out to a 2-0 lead with an early goal from Cam Fowler less than four minutes into the game, followed by a power play goal from Patrick Maroon in the second period.

Scott Hartnell did all he could for Columbus, scoring two goals on the night, but the Ducks were able to hold off the Blue Jackets for the 4-2 win.

Home Sweet Home (Except Not)

The Blue Jackets are still searching for their first home win of the year. So far in Columbus, the Blue Jackets have gone 0-5-0 at Nationwide Arena.

Their closest game at home came against the Jets on October 31 in a 3-2 loss. All of the other losses for the Blue Jackets have been by two goals or more. Columbus hopes to build off their successful California road trip in which they won two of their three games and finally get that first home win of the season. They are the only remaining team in the league without a win on home ice this season.

Offense Heading in the Right Direction

Ever since bringing in John Tortorella, the Blue Jackets have been making small steps to improve from their horrendous offensive start. In their first seven games, Columbus averaged just 1.86 goals per game while giving up 4.86 goals per game.

Under Tortorella, the Blue Jackets are averaging 2.75 goals per game while giving up 2.50 goals per game. There's still a lot of work to be done, but it's at least a step in the right direction for a team that ranks 23rd in the league with 2.33 goals per game.

Raising Bobrovsky's Confidence

After a nightmarish start to the season, Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is still trying to get his head back in the right place. Earlier this season, Bobrovsky admitted to having "zero confidence," which is pretty much the worst thing that can come out of a goalie's mouth.

This year, Bobrovsky has a record of 4-8-0 with a GAA of 3.61 and an .884 save percentage. Not numbers you'd expect to see from a guy who was named the best goaltender in the league. Despite the rocky start, Bobrovsky's last two outings have been successful, earning wins over Los Angeles and San Jose, giving up just four goals on 76 shots faced in the two games combined.

Bobrovsky will get the start in net tonight for the Blue Jackets.