Weekly Report: Winners of four of their last six, Blue Jackets face Flyers, 'Canes and Preds
Columbus looks to continue its strong play of late, hosting Philadelphia and visiting Carolina and Nashville
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (9-20-0, 18 pts./4th Central Division)
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
DATE OPPONENT - ARENA TIME TV/RADIO
Tue., Dec. 13 vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Nationwide Arena 7 p.m. FSN/WBNS-AM, WWCD-FM
Thu., Dec. 15 at Carolina Hurricanes, RBC Center 7 p.m. FSN/WBNS-AM, WWCD-FM
Sat., Dec. 17 at Nashville Predators, Gaylord Entertainment Center 8 p.m. FSN/WBNS-AM, WWCD-FM
FSN-Fox Sports Net, WBNS-AM (1460), WWCD-FM (101.1); Times are Eastern
THIS WEEK'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Blue Jackets practices typically last 60 to 90 minutes with media availability following. The schedule for Dec. 13-19 (Tue.-Mon.) is as follows: Tue. – 10:30 a.m. (Nationwide Arena)… Wed. – 11 a.m. (Dispatch Ice Haus)… Thu. – 11:30 a.m. (RBC Center, Raleigh, NC)… Fri. – 1 p.m. (Centennial Sportsplex, Nashville, TN)… Sat. – 11:30 a.m. (Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, TN)… Sun. – 11 a.m. (Nationwide Arena)… Mon. – 10:30 a.m. (Dispatch Ice Haus). Practice times are local and subject to change. Only practices at the Dispatch Ice Haus are open to the public.
ROSTER REPORT: Dec.9 - Recalled C Joe Motzko from Syracuse Crunch (AHL)… Placed C Manny Malhotra (shoulder injury) on Injured Reserve… Dec. 8– Activated D Adam Foote and C Manny Malhotra from Injured Reserve… Dec. 6 – Recalled G Pascal Leclaire from Syracuse (AHL).
INJURY REPORT: C Manny Malhotra (shoulder injury, Dec. 8 vs. NY Islanders) is expected to miss eight weeks… C Gilbert Brule (broken leg, Nov. 30 at Minnesota) is expected to miss four to six weeks… LW Alexandre Picard (mild concussion, Nov. 20 at Phoenix) is day-to-day… D Rostislav Klesla (broken hand, Nov. 9 vs. St. Louis) is expected to miss approximately six weeks… LW Rick Nash (knee sprain, Nov. 3 at Calgary) is expected to miss six weeks.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Philadelphia Flyers – 17-7-4, 38 pts. (2nd, Atlantic Division)… Only meeting this season… Jackets are 0-2-3 in the all-time series, including 0-1-2 at home… Four of five games have been decided by one goal or less, including a 1-1 tie in last meeting on Dec. 10, 2003 at Nationwide Arena… Head Coach: Ken Hitchcock… Players to Watch – C Peter Forsberg (9-32-41, +14 in 22 games)… RW Mike Knuble (13-12-25, 2 GW, 2 SHG in 28 games)… G Robert Esche (10-4-2, 3.18 GAA, .891 SV% in 16 games)… Carolina Hurricanes – 18-9-2, 38 pts. (1st, Southeast Division)… Only meeting this season… Jackets are 2-5-0 in the all-time series, including 1-3-0 on the road… Jackets won last meeting at RBC Center, 3-0, on Mar. 2, 2004… Head Coach: Peter Laviolette… Players to Watch – C Eric Staal (21-21-42, 9 PPG in 29 games)… RW Justin Williams (12-11-23 in 29 games)… G Martin Gerber (12-6-1, 2.61 GAA, .917 SV% in 20 games)… Nashville Predators – 18-6-3, 39 pts. (2nd, Central Division)… Third of eight meetings this season… Columbus is 9-12-1-1 all-time, including 3-7-1 on the road… Teams have split two games at Nationwide Arena this season with Columbus winning 3-2 in OT on Oct. 26 and losing 4-2 on Nov. 23 … Head Coach: Barry Trotz… Players to Watch – LW Paul Kariya (9-16-25 in 27 games)… RW Steve Sullivan (11-12-23, 6 PPG in 23 games)… G Chris Mason (3-1-1, 3.13 GAA, .901 SV% in six games).
WEEK IN REVIEW: Dec. 8 – at Blue Jackets 4, NY Islanders 3 (SO): Pascal Leclaire made 37 saves and David Vyborny scored the clinching goal in the shootout as the Blue Jackets improved to 6-0-1 all-time vs. the Islanders. Columbus took a 2-0 lead after one period on goals by Nikolai Zherdev and Adam Foote. Sergei Fedorov's first goal as a Blue Jacket gave Columbus a 3-1 lead before New York's Trent Hunter scored at 18:05 of the second to cut the lead to 3-2. Mark Parris scored a power play goal with :37 left in regulation to force overtime. Columbus scored a season-high three power play goals on seven attempts, while the Islanders went 2-of-10 with the man advantage and held a 40 to 27 edge in shots in goal…Dec. 9 – at Atlanta 5, Blue Jackets 2: The Thrashers broke open a tight game with three goals, including two by Robert Petrovicky, in a span of 2:22 early in the second period and added an empty net goal (also by Petrovicky) en route to the win. Jaroslav Balastik and Nikolai Zherdev scored for the Blue Jackets, while Pascal Leclaire (15 shots – 11 saves) and Marc Denis (15 shots – 15 saves) shared the goaltending duties for Columbus… Dec. 11 – at Blue Jackets 3, New Jersey 2 (OT): Nikolai Zherdev's second goal of the game at 4:35 of the third period tied the game at 2-2 and Bryan Berard's goal at 4:46 of overtime won it as the Jackets improved to 4-2-0 in their last six games. Columbus, which overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, got 28 saves from Marc Denis who out dueled New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (36 saves) to earn the win. Columbus also converted 1-of-5 power play attempts and killed off all seven of the Devils chances with the man advantage.
ZHERDEV CATCHES FIRE, TAKES OVER TEAM LEAD IN GOALS: RW Nikolai Zherdev is riding a career-high three-game goal scoring streak (four goals) and has 7-4-11 in his last 15 games after being held to 1-3-4 in his first 13 outings this season. He registered his second two-goal game of the season vs. New Jersey on Dec. 11 and now leads the team in that category with eight, while ranking third in points with 15. The arrival of C Sergei Fedorov has also been a positive influence on the Kiev, Ukraine native. Since Fedorov joined the Blue Jackets on Nov. 15, Zherdev has tallied five goals with 30 shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating in 11 games. In the previous 17 outings, Zherdev had three goals with 35 shots and was -10.
GALLANT-LED JACKETS EXCEL IN OVERTIME & SHOOTOUT: Blue Jackets Head Coach Gerard Gallant has a career record of 11-1-4 in overtime games, which is the best mark among current NHL coaches. The club is 5-0 in overtime this season, including a 3-0 record in shootouts. Columbus is the only team in the NHL who has yet to lose a game that has gone to overtime this season (Buffalo ranks second at 5-0-1) and is among three teams who have yet to lose a shootout (Dallas, 3-0; Los Angeles, 1-0).
FOOTE NAMED FOURTH CAPTAIN IN FRANCHISE HISTORY: D Adam Foote was named the fourth captain in Blue Jackets history on Dec. 6, joining Lyle Odelein (2000-02), Ray Whitney (2002-03) and Luke Richardson (2003-05). The club also announced that C Sergei Fedorov will join LW Rick Nash and RW David Vyborny as alternate captains. Foote and Fedorov have combined to play in over 1,800 regular season and 316 Stanley Cup Playoff games, won five Stanley Cups (Fedorov – 3, Foote – 2) and participated in four Olympic Games.
NEWS & NOTES: The Blue Jackets have gone 4-2-0 in their last six games since enduring a season-high seven-game losing streak from Nov. 11-25… Columbus has scored a power play goal in a season-high four-straight games (6-of-25/24 percent)… G Marc Denis stopped 43-of-45 shots in 97 minutes of action last week in his first appearances since Nov. 20. He stopped 15-of-15 shots in 32:21 of action in relief of Pascal Leclaire at Atlanta on Dec. 9 and followed that with a 28-save performance in a 3-2 overtime win vs. New Jersey on Dec. 11… RW David Vyborny has played in a team-record 190 consecutive games since Oct. 17, 2002… C Geoff Platt picked up his first career NHL point (on Sergei Fedorov's first CBJ goal) vs. NY Islanders on Nov. 8 and added an assist at Atlanta on Nov. 9.
JACKETS ON THE RADIO: The Doug MacLean Show airs on WBNS Sports Radio 1460 The Fan on Wednesdays from 3 -4 p.m. with the Blue Jackets President and General Manager and WBNS Radio's Bruce Hooley. Between the Pipes with the Blue Jackets can also be heard on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship station Sports Radio 1460 the Fan on Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m. with hosts Mark Wyant and members of the Blue Jackets broadcast team.