Series (Game 2 of 4)

Vancouver leads 4-0

Game 1: Wednesday, December 15th
Blue Jackets2Final
Game 2: Thursday, December 23rd
Blue Jackets3
Game 3: Tuesday, March 1st
Blue Jackets1Final
Game 4: Sunday, March 27th
Blue Jackets1

Canucks 7

(20-8-5, 45 pts)

Blue Jackets 3

(17-14-3, 37 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 23, 2010

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
VAN 3 3 17
CBJ 0 1 23

H. Sedin (Canucks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

D. Sedin (Canucks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

A. Burrows (Canucks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

Canucks-Blue Jackets Preview


The Vancouver Canucks have lost just once in regulation over the last month. They have a good chance to maintain that record with another meeting against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Ryan Kesler will try to help the Canucks continue their impressive stretch by extending their winning streak over the Blue Jackets to five games as they meet at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night.

Vancouver (19-8-5) is 9-1-2 since a season-worst four-game losing streak last month, and is one point ahead of second-place Colorado for the Northwest Division lead.

The Canucks' lone defeat in regulation came 3-2 to St. Louis on Dec. 5, and they're 5-0-2 since.

They gained a point in the standings Wednesday, losing 5-4 in overtime at Detroit after opening this three-game road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Blues on Monday.

Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin have been key over the last 12 games, getting 16 points each. Kesler's contributions are a welcome surprise after he accumulated 13 points in the first 20 contests.

The center, who has seven goals and nine assists over the last month, had three assists against the Red Wings with one coming on Sedin's team-leading 17th goal.

Kesler has also been a big reason for Vancouver's success against Columbus (17-13-3), getting four goals and six assists. He netted his first career hat trick, with the final tally coming on an assist from Sedin with 1:30 left in overtime of a 3-2 win on Dec. 15.

The Canucks have won four in a row over the Blue Jackets, including both visits to Columbus last season which ended in 4-3 scores.

The Blue Jackets hope they've found a way to slow down Vancouver after Mathieu Garon made 29 saves as their starting goaltender in Tuesday's 3-1 win over Calgary, ending a four-game slide.

"Matty, when it got late in the game and we were sitting on our lead a little bit, was strong," coach Scott Arniel said. "He gave us an opportunity to win the game."

Garon, a 10-year NHL veteran who won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, is 8-4-2 with a 1.91 goals-against average and three shutouts in 17 games -- 13 starts -- this season.

He's clearly outplayed Steve Mason, who's 9-9-1 with a 3.29 GAA while getting pulled in three of his last four starts. The 2009 rookie of the year has been lifted a league-high 12 times over two seasons.

Both Garon and Mason have struggled against the Canucks.

Garon is 0-2-1 with a 3.79 GAA in his last four meetings with them, including a 27-save effort in Vancouver last week. Mason has a 5.42 GAA with the same record over his last three starts.

Rick Nash, Columbus' leader with 17 goals and 26 points, has one assist during a four-game goal drought. The right wing failed to find the net on two shots versus the Canucks on Dec. 15, but has four goals and four assists in the last eight matchups at Nationwide Arena.