Weekly Report: Columbus Has Four Games Before Olympic Break
Club riding a franchise-best five-game winning streak
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Mon, Feb. 6 at Vancouver Canucks, GM Place 10 p.m.
No TV/WBNS-AM, WWCD-FM
Wed., Feb. 8 vs. Los Angeles Kings, Nationwide Arena 7 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 10 vs. Colorado Avalanche, Nationwide Arena 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 11 at Nashville Predators, Gaylord Entertainment Center 8 p.m.
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 Feb. 7-13 (Tue.-Mon.) is as follows: Tue. – No Practice Scheduled… Wed. – 10:30 a.m. (Nationwide Arena)… Thu. – 11 a.m. (Dispatch Ice Haus)… Fri. – 10:30 a.m. (Nationwide Arena)… Sat. – 11:30 a.m. (Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville)… Sun. – No Practice – Olympic Break… Mon. – No Practice – Olympic Break Practice times are local and subject to change. Practices at the Dispatch Ice Haus are open to the public.
OLYMPIC BREAK: The National Hockey League will suspend play from Feb. 13-27 for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The Blue Jackets will return to the ice for practice on Feb. 23 (10:30 a.m.) at the Dispatch Ice Haus.
ROSTER REPORT: Feb. 3 – Signed C Joakim Lindstrom to a multi-year contract.
INJURY REPORT: C Mike Rupp (broken foot, Jan. 16 vs. NY Rangers) is expected to miss four to six weeks… D Bryan Berard (lower back injury, Jan. 27 vs. Minnesota) is day to day.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Vancouver Canucks – 31-19-5, 67 pts. (1st, Northwest Division)… Third of four meetings this season… Jackets are 5-10-3 in the all-time series, including 2-6-1 on the road… Each team has won at home (Vancouver, 5-3 on Nov. 4; Columbus, 6-5 on Jan. 24)… Head Coach: Marc Crawford… Players to Watch – LW Markus Naslund (24-31-55, 9 PPG in 54 games)… C Henrik Sedin (14-40-54 in 55 games)… G Alexander Auld (23-14-3, 2.78 GAA, .911 SV% in 42 games)… Los Angeles Kings – 30-21-5, 65 pts. (2nd, Pacific Division)… Third of four meetings this season… Columbus is 8-9-1 in the all-time series, including 5-4-0 at home… Kings have won both meetings this season, 3-1 at home on Oct. 16 and 8-2 in Columbus on Nov. 13… Head Coach: Andy Murray… Players to Watch – C Craig Conroy (19-35-53, +18 in 55 games)… C Pavol Demitra (20-31-51, 5 GWG in 46 games)… G Mathieu Garon (21-13-3, 2.89 GAA, .906 SV%, 2 SO in 40 games)… Colorado Avalanche – 29-20-6, 64 pts. (4th, Northwest Division)… Third of four meetings this season… Columbus is 1-15-2 in the all-time series, including 1-7-1 at home… Avs won 5-0 at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 25, while Jackets earned first point at Pepsi Center in a 3-2 SOL on Jan. 7… Head Coach: Joel Quenneville… Players to Watch – C Joe Sakic (20-31-51, 7 PPG in 55 games)… LW Alex Tanguay (23-39-62, 7 PPG in 55 games)… G David Aebischer (20-12-2, 3.16 GAA, .895 SV% in 36 games)… Nashville Predators – 33-15-6, 72 pts. (2nd, Central Division)… Seventh of eight meetings this season… Columbus is 10-15-2 in the all-time series, including 3-9-1 on the road… Nashville has won both games at home this season, 7-3 on Dec. 17 and 7-2 on Jan. 21… Head Coach: Barry Trotz… Players to Watch – LW Paul Kariya (17-35-52, 7 PPG in 54 games)… RW Steve Sullivan (26-23-49, 11 PPG, 5 GWG in 50 games)… G Tomas Vokoun (27-11-5, 2.56 GAA, .920 SV%, 2 SO in 43 games).
WEEK IN REVIEW: Feb. 1 – Blue Jackets 2, at Calgary 1 (SO): Marc Denis made 36 saves, including 14 in the third period, and stopped both Calgary shootout attempts to lead the Blue Jackets to the win. Calgary led 1-0 after one period thanks to a goal by Jarome Iginla before Columbus tied the game at 1-1 on a second period goal by Nikolai Zherdev. Following a scoreless third period and overtime, Jarolslav Balastik and Rick Nash scored in the shootout to give Columbus the win. The Blue Jackets went 1-of-5 on the power play and stopped both Calgary attempts with the man advantage and won despite being out-shot 37 to 20…Feb. 2 – Blue Jackets 2, at Edmonton 1(SO): Columbus earned its first-ever sweep of Alberta and snapped a 12-game winless streak (0-8-4) vs. the Oilers when Edmonton native and former Oiler Jason Chimera scored in the eighth round of the shootout. The two teams battled to a scoreless tie for nearly 55 minutes before Edmonton's Steve Staios lit the lamp at 14:52 of the third period. Nikolai Zherdev's goal just 2:02 later tied the game and forced overtime. Marc Denis made 27 saves and stopped 5-of-8 in the shootout to earn the win in net, while Jussi Markkanen made 18 saves and stopped 4-of-8 in the shootout for the Oilers.
RED-HOT MARC DENIS HAS WON SIX-STRAIGHT STARTS IN NET: G Marc Denis has won his last six starts in goal for the Blue Jackets. During the streak, he has posted a 2.57 goals-against average and .922 save percentage, stopping 189-of-205 shots. He has made 30 or more saves three times during that span, which began with a 33-save performance in a 4-3 win over the NY Rangers on Jan. 16.
ZHERDEV COMES THROUGH IN THE CLUTCH TO STAY HOT: RW Nikolai Zherdev has scored the tying goal in each of the Blue Jackets' last two games and has tallied points in six of his last seven games (4-3-7). He has also notched 8-11-19 in his last 19 outings to raise his season totals to 17-19-36 in 53 games with his 17 goals tops on the club. The second-year NHLer also comes into Monday's game vs. the Vancouver Canucks having tallied 4-3-7 in two games at GM Place, including 2-1-3 on Nov. 4.
BLUE JACKETS RIDING TEAM RECORD FIVE-GAME WINNING STREAK: The Blue Jackets have won a team-record five consecutive games to improve their record to 8-2-0 in their last 10 and 10-4-1 since Jan. 1. Columbus' 21 points since the first of the year currently ranks third in the Western Conference. The current streak began with a 6-4 win over Vancouver on Jan. 24 and includes wins over Minnesota (4-3 on Jan. 27), Nashville (4-3 on Jan. 28), Calgary (2-1 on Feb. 1) and Edmonton (2-1 on Feb. 2). The previous club record for consecutive games won was four, set from Mar. 21-27, 2004 and Nov. 9-16, 2000.
COMEBACK KIDS CONTINUE TO WIN IN THE CLUTCH: Columbus has come from behind to earn points in eight games since Jan. 1, including six games in which the club trailed in the third period. The Blue Jackets have overcome deficits in the following games during that span – Jan. 7 at Colorado (0-2, 2-3 SOL), Jan. 14 at Florida (0-2, 5-4 OTW), Jan. 16 vs. NY Rangers (0-1, 4-3 W), Jan. 20 vs. St. Louis (2-3, 4-3 SOW), Jan. 27 vs. Minnesota (1-3, 4-3 W), Jan. 28 vs. Nashville (2-3, 4-3 W), Feb. 1 at Calgary (0-1, 2-1 SOW) and Feb. 2 at Edmonton (0-1, 2-1 SOW).
NEWS & NOTES: Head Coach Gerard Gallant will coach in the 100th game of his NHL coaching career at Vancouver on Monday… The Blue Jackets are 8-1-0 in their last nine games at home… The Blue Jackets have four players who will be participating in the Winter Olympic Games at Turin, Italy – D Adam Foote and LW Rick Nash will be playing for Team Canada, while RW David Vyborny will suit up for the Czech Republic and D Radoslav Suchy is a member of the Slovakian Olympic Team.
NASH TO TAKE PART IN LIVE WEB CHAT ON NHL.COM THIS THURSDAY: Blue Jackets LW Rick Nash will be the guest during a live web chat on NHL.com on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET. Fans wishing to participate, can log onto www.NHL.com.
HOCKEY FEST CELEBRATION SET FOR SUNDAY, FEB. 26: The Blue Jackets players, coaches and their wives will be hosting Hockey Fest 2006 at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, Feb. 6, from 1 to 6 p.m. The event will feature carnival games hosted by the team, penalty box photos, locker room tours, silent/live auctions and a live broadcast of the 2006 Olympics hockey gold medal game. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event with all proceeds benefiting the Columbus Blue Jackets foundation. Tickets are on sale now at The Blueline, The Chiller Ice Rinks, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (614) 431-3600.
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.