Jackets hope to extend win streak vs Canucks
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ lone six-game win streak came seven seasons ago.
It’s been nearly that long since Roberto Luongo won at Columbus.
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The surging Blue Jackets can match the franchise’s longest run Tuesday night and hand the visiting Vancouver Canucks a fifth straight defeat, with Luongo set to make his first start in over a week.
Columbus (10-12-4) swept a weekend home-and-home series with Detroit, winning 3-0 at home Saturday and 3-2 in a road shootout Sunday. The Blue Jackets’ 12 points during a 5-0-2 surge match their point total from their first 19 games.
“Guys are working really hard,” coach Todd Richards said. “They earned all the points that we’ve gotten over the past six, seven games or whatever it is.”
Columbus last won six straight March 24-April 3, 2006.
Vancouver (11-7-6) enters on an 0-2-2 slide and has not dropped five straight since an 0-5-3 stretch Jan. 9-31, 2009. The Canucks have scored two or fewer goals in every contest of this skid, falling 4-2 at Minnesota on Sunday.
“It’s tough right now, we’re being tested and that’s why we need each and every guy in here to pull along,” winger Daniel Sedin said.
Cory Schneider has started four of the Canucks’ last five visits to Columbus, including a 2-1 overtime defeat Thursday. Schneider has also started Vancouver’s last three games and five of the past six.
Coach Alain Vigneault has opted to go to Luongo, who has been on the trading block. Luongo, who hasn’t played since March 3 at Calgary, is 0-3-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average in his last four starts at Nationwide Arena since his lone win there Oct. 6, 2006.
The Blue Jackets are more than pleased with Sergei Bobrovsky, who is 4-0-0 with a 0.81 GAA over his last five games. He was outstanding in his first career start against the Canucks last week with 34 saves as Matt Calvert scored the winning goal.
Calvert and Ryan Johansen came through in Sunday’s shootout for Columbus, which won despite being outshot 23-21.
“I like the way we competed for 60 minutes,” Richards said. “We weren’t perfect but played hard, we were opportunistic, scored a couple goals, got into the shootout and then it was lights out in the shootout.”
Saturday’s victory was the lone contest of the Blue Jackets’ last seven not to go past regulation.
The close games have been going the other way lately for Vancouver, with every loss in this slide by two goals or fewer. The Canucks were 0 for 4 on the power play against the Wild, dropping to 0 for 20 over their last eight games.
“We didn’t generate much again and we’re going to have to find solutions,” Vigneault said.
It could be hard to get untracked against the Blue Jackets, who have killed off 26 of 27 penalties. The exception was Johan Franzen’s goal Sunday on a 5-on-3.
Henrik Sedin has nine points during a seven-game run, but the Canucks are 1-4-2 in that span.
“We have to be better than what we’re showing right now,” Vigneault said.