Columbus Blue Jackets (15-23-9) vs. Vancouver Canucks (32-11-5)
When and where: Saturday, 7 p.m., Rogers Arena
TV: Hockey Night in Canada Radio: Sportsnet 650
The buzz: This is the Canucks’ final game before the All-Star break. They may have stumbled a little Wednesday versus St. Louis and looked underwhelming Monday against Chicago, but they still have points in 10 straight games. One of the two single-point games was a shootout loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus nearly two weeks ago.
The history: With a snow storm raging in Buffalo, it became an ordeal for the Canucks to get to Columbus to wrap up a seven-game road trip. The Canucks ended up having to bus up to Toronto to fly to Columbus a full day after they were meant to charter from Buffalo. The Canucks looked a little sapped when they did face CBJ, running mostly on fumes against one of the NHL’s worst squads. For Saturday’s game, the Canucks are well-rested, having had Friday off completely.
The hope: The Canucks are getting lots of results, even if at times head coach Rick Tocchet has expressed concern about the quality of their play. That said, the Canucks keep rolling because their system is so strong. There is every reason to think they will blast the Blue Jackets to smithereens.
The fear: Some weird bounce goes against the Canucks? They are conquering most things these days.
The top guns: J.T. Miller has “slid” back to fifth in the NHL in scoring, with 64 points. Elias Pettersson has 62 points. His coach thinks he can be better, indeed will be better, than he’s been. That’s a reminder of how much better the Canucks could yet be.
The wounded: Canucks: Carson Soucy (broken hand, six to eight weeks), Phil Di Giuseppe (lower-body, IR), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion, indefinite). Blue Jackets: Patrik Laine (fractured clavicle, IR)
The quote: “Obviously, I want to score and you get an opportunity like that and you miss the net it’s obviously frustrating, but as long as you’re getting those chances, you gotta keep working on it.” — Brock Boeser, on looking skyward last game after hooking a shot in front of a wide-open net. Boeser, who has 27 goals on the season, hasn’t scored in six games.
The prediction: The All-Star bound Canucks are going to romp 5-1 in this one.
(FAN FORUM: Do you have a specific question for a player? Pass it along to @provincesports and we’ll get it in a future edition.)
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