NHL Hockey: Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Jackets - Jackets Favored

Team Page: Chicago :: Columbus

54% of Bets Placed on Chicago +125 | Matchup | Goalies
The Columbus Blue Jackets did just enough to break out of a frustrating scoring slump in their last game. Now, they'll look to build on a comeback victory when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Oddsmakers have made Columbus -145 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books).

Columbus (22-28-5) scored twice in the third period of Thursday's 2-1 win over Calgary, ending a six-period scoreless drought. The Blue Jackets got goals from David Vyborny and Fredrik Modin in a 47-second span after the team went 133 minutes, 26 seconds without scoring.

"The players have to understand the harder you check, the more you score and we did that in the third period," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have something to build on - we check, we score and we create chances."

The Blue Jackets were coming off Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Phoenix, the 12th time they were shut out this season. Columbus is among the worst offensive teams in the NHL at 2.42 goals per game.

"Last game we didn't play very well, but tonight we got excited," said Vyborny, who scored for just the second time in 18 games. "They scored a lucky goal and finally we got two goals."

Modin got his fourth goal in his last 24 games for the Blue Jackets, who ended a three-game losing streak during which they managed just four goals. Fredrik Norrena stopped 24 shots for Columbus.

The Blue Jackets, though, went 0-for-5 on the power play and are 0-for-15 in their last three games.

"We just banged away, got two dirty goals and got away with a win," Modin said. "The top lines need to score, that's just the way it is. We need to take it on our shoulders, chip away and bang away, and get those goals. It really hasn't gone that way. But tonight we were fortunate to get two goals that came from the so-called top two lines."

The Blue Jackets activated goaltender Pascal Leclaire from injured reserve Friday and assigned goalie Ty Conklin and forward Zenon Konopka to Syracuse of the AHL. Leclaire, who has not played since Dec. 22 because of a knee injury, is 6-12-2 with a 2.97 goals-against average in 21 starts this season.

"We need every win we can get," Norrena said. "It doesn't matter if we play at home or away, we just have to show up every night and see how it goes."

The Blackhawks (21-27-7) lost for just the second time in six games Friday, 2-1 at Edmonton. Martin Havlat, the team leader with 21 goals and 41 points, scored for Chicago.

"We played a pretty good game," Havlat said. "Especially in the first period.

"I feel we were the better team in that part of the game. We were all over them. They had one good shot and scored one goal. We just left it too late to come back, but I thought we played pretty well."

The Blackhawks are playing the sixth game on seven-game road trip. They're 2-2-1 against Columbus this season.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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