|VAN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|CBJ||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
GAME: Vancouver Canucks (35-26-6) at Columbus Blue Jackets (26-37-3).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Vancouver Canucks try to avoid their longest losing streak in seven years when they meet the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Vancouver has matched its worst slide of the season, having also lost five in a row from Dec. 17-26. A loss Friday would saddle the team with its longest losing streak since dropping six straight from Mach 13-25, 1999.
The Canucks have managed to score just six goals during the current five-game skid, which includes four defeats to two of the Western Conference's top three teams - Dallas and Nashville.
The scoring drought hit a low point in a 5-0 loss to the Predators on Tuesday night.
"We had chances, it is just a matter of finishing them and getting those key goals," Vancouver captain Markus Naslund said. "It's difficult, the pucks are not going in, and as an offensive player, the only thing you can do is keep pushing."
Mika Noronen made his first appearance in goal for Vancouver after being acquired at the trade deadline from Buffalo. He allowed five goals on just 27 shots.
"We had hoped Noronen would come in and have a good game, and he didn't," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "We're not performing at our top level, and we have to eliminate as much negative thought as possible."
Vancouver also wasn't helped by a power play that didn't score in eight opportunities. The Canucks are 1-for-28 with the man advantage during their losing streak.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin each had five-game point streaks snapped in Tuesday's loss.
The Blue Jackets return home after dropping both games of a short road stint against the only teams below them in the West standings. After Monday's 3-2 overtime loss at St. Louis, Columbus lost 3-2 at Chicago on Wednesday for its sixth defeat in seven road games.
Returning home has to provide comfort to the Blue Jackets, who have gone 11-3-0 at Nationwide Arena since Dec. 26. They have averaged 3.6 goals a game at home over that stretch, well above their league-low average of 2.4 goals for the season.
Nikolai Zherdev and Rick Nash have been productive since the Olympic break, a stretch during which Columbus is 3-4-1. Zherdev has five goals in those eight games. Nash has a four-game points streak that has produced three goals and three assists.
STANDINGS: Canucks - 76 points, 4th place, 6 PB, Northwest Division. Blue Jackets - 55 points, 3rd place, 40 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 28 goals; Henrik Sedin, 48 assists and 65 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 118 PIM. Blue Jackets - Zherdev, 24 goals; David Vyborny, 32 assists and 48 points; Jody Shelley, 129 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 17.6 percent (78 for 444), 16th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (347 for 425), 19th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.2 percent (53 for 372), 29th. Penalty killing: 81.0 percent (349 for 431), 23rd.
SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 6; Canucks, 7-4. At Vancouver, the Canucks scored four first-period goals to take a 4-0 lead, and seven different Canucks found the net. Nash scored two goals for the Blue Jackets and missed on a second-period penalty shot against Auld.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 15-19-2 on the road; Blue Jackets - 17-14-0 at home.
|Mar 17 '06||VAN 3 at CBJ 2||B. Morrison|
|Feb 06 '06||CBJ 4 at VAN 7||D. Sedin|
|Jan 24 '06||VAN 5 at CBJ 6||T. Letowski|
|Nov 04 '05||CBJ 3 at VAN 5||A. Carter|