Published January 13, 2015
The red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets will try to match the longest winning streak in club history when they host the struggling Vancouver Canucks in Tuesday's clash at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus began this season with a 5-12-4 record, but has since rattled off five straight wins to pull within one of the franchise's longest winning streak, which was set from March 24-April 3, 2006.
The Blue Jackets also have recorded points in seven straight games (5-0-2). That's the longest point streak for the club since a 6-0-1 stretch during the 2008-09 campaign, which is still the only playoff season in franchise history.
The club's two most recent wins came in this past weekend's home-and-home sweep of the Detroit Red Wings. Columbus won a 3-0 home decision on Saturday before recording a shootout win the following day in the Motor City. All told, the Blue Jackets went 4-0-1 in their season series against the Red Wings.
Matt Calvert and Ryan Johansen each scored in the shootout on Sunday, enabling the Blue Jackets to post a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena. Derick Brassard and R.J. Umberger had the regulation goals to help Columbus complete its successful season series with Detroit.
"Guys are working really hard," Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards said afterward. "They've earned all the points that we've gotten over the past six, seven games or whatever it is."
Sergei Bobrovsky, fresh off a 30-save performance on Saturday, stopped 21 shots through overtime before turning back two of Detroit's three skaters in the deciding phase. Bobrovsky was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending March 10. He has started all five games during the streak and will get the call again on Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets will try to keep their winning ways going on Tuesday, when they begin a five-game homestand. Columbus is 7-4-3 as the host this season compared to a 3-8-1 mark on the road.
While Columbus is after the longest winning streak in club history, the Canucks enter Tuesday's test riding their worst skid of the season. Vancouver is 0-2-2 during a four-game slide, but hopes to change that against a franchise it has had a great deal of success against over the years.
Columbus has won two of its last three against the Canucks, including a 2-1 overtime decision in Thursday's battle at Nationwide Arena. Bobrovsky registered 34 saves in the triumph, which marked the Blue Jackets' second straight home win against Vancouver after losing the previous five.
The Canucks, however, still have 10 wins in the last 12 meetings between these clubs.
Vancouver has played just one game since its loss last week in Columbus and that was Sunday's 4-2 setback at Minnesota. Zach Parise scored a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the Wild past their Northwest Division rivals.
The win allowed Minnesota to draw even with the Canucks for first place in the Northwest, a division Vancouver has been champion of in each of the past four seasons.
Chris Higgins and Henrik Sedin had the goals for slumping Vancouver, which fell to 3-5-4 over its last 12 outings. The Canucks went 0-for-4 on the power play and they haven't scored on their last 23 chances with the man advantage.
Cory Schneider finished with 28 saves in a losing cause, but he cautioned against his team overreacting to its recent slump.
"It's not time to panic yet," said Schneider. "It is time to get some urgency and win hockey games."
The loss was also Vancouver's fourth straight on the road, dropping the team to 5-4-3 as the guest in 2013.
Roberto Luongo expects to get the start in net Tuesday and is 9-5-5 with a 2.18 goals against average in 19 career games against Columbus.
Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has missed the last four games with a groin injury but he skated with the team on Monday. He is questionable for Tuesday's tilt.