Columbus
Blue Jackets
33-42-7
Vancouver
Canucks
49-26-7

24 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CBJ
VAN
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Blue Jackets-Canucks Preview

Tuesday, 11.28.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Blue Jackets-Canucks Preview
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Vancouver Canucks

Playing without Daniel Sedin probably won't help a Vancouver Canucks team that's struggling offensively as well as defensively.

Losers of two straight, the Canucks (11-12-1) may again be without Sedin when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets (6-14-2) on Tuesday night.

Vancouver had won three in a row before dropping its last two. The Canucks have been outscored 10-1 in their last two games, with their lone goal coming from Kevin Bieksa in a 4-1 loss at Colorado on Saturday night.

"Our last two games have all been about two things - our inability to make the other team pay on their mistakes and their ability to make us pay when we make a mistake," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "This is a game of mistakes.

"Right now we're not capable of finishing when we do get the opportunity and the other team is."

Sedin, second on the team with 20 points, wasn't in the lineup against the Avalanche due to a strained oblique muscle. His status for Tuesday is uncertain.

Sedin had two goals in the Canucks' 3-2 win at Columbus on Oct. 6. It was Vancouver's third straight victory over the Blue Jackets since a 6-5 road loss Jan. 24.

The Canucks have also been exposed defensively of late.

Vancouver's Robert Luongo made 35 saves against Colorado, but took the loss after winning his previous three starts. He has kept the Canucks in games with stellar saves, but his teammates have been sloppy on defense in front of him in giving up 10 goals in the last two contests - including a 6-0 rout at Nashville on Thursday.

"What has been kind of our staple this year - good defensive play - is completely falling apart," Canucks center Brendan Morrison said. "We are giving up way more chances, for whatever reason."

Vancouver has struggled early in its last two contests.

"You aren't going to win many games when you don't give yourself a chance to win," Canucks right wing Markus Naslund said. "It was tough for us starting out the last two games being down 2-0."

Naslund has 16 goals and 16 assists in 20 games against the Blue Jackets.

Vancouver, opening a five-game homestand, is 5-5-0 at GM Place.

Columbus is last in the NHL with 14 points, but earned its first win under new coach Ken Hitchcock in its last contest.

Sergei Fedorov had two goals and two assists to lead the Blue Jackets past Minnesota 5-3 on Saturday night, ending an eight-game losing skid.

The Blue Jackets fell 3-2 on Friday in Hitchcock's Columbus debut against the Flyers, the team that fired him after a 1-6-1-0 start this season.

"I am pleasantly surprised how quickly the players bought it," said Hitchcock, 408-249-100 in stints with the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers.

Hitchcock was hired Wednesday to replace the fired Gerard Gallant.

Anson Carter had a goal and two assists and Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist to help the Blue Jackets match their season high in goals.

"We are a big hockey club that can skate and can bang some players," Hitchcock said. "If we play that way, we'll wear teams out. When we play that way, we'll win a lot of hockey games."

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 30 '07CBJ 3 at VAN 2 - SON. Zherdev
Dec 22 '06VAN 2 at CBJ 3R. Nash
Nov 28 '06CBJ 0 at VAN 1M. Naslund
Oct 06 '06VAN 3 at CBJ 2 - OTD. Sedin
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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