Blue Jackets vs. Canucks Preview
British Columbia, Canada (AP) - Despite losing the opener of a five-game trip, the Columbus Blue Jackets have played well on the road of late.
They'll need to regain that success if they want to get back into playoff position.
The Blue Jackets look to bounce back from their first road loss in more than a month and try to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat to the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Canucks -193 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Blue Jackets. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 79% of more than 443 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks -193.
Columbus (31-24-6) had its franchise-record six-game road winning streak snapped Sunday when it allowed three third-period goals in a 3-2 loss at Nashville.
"It was unfortunate," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said, whose club has not lost consecutive road games since Jan. 15-18.
Though the Blue Jackets have lost three times in 11 games, they are 12th in the West - four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
Columbus hopes to get a lift after acquiring forward Scottie Upshall on Monday from Phoenix in exchange for defenseman Rostislav Klesla, the last original Blue Jacket. The sixth overall pick in 2002, Upshall had 16 goals and 11 assists for the Coyotes.
"(The trade) will give us some flexibility as we move forward into the long-term future,'' Columbus general manager Scott Howson said. "But this was about now, really, in trying to give our team a little boost as we try and make the playoffs.''
That could remain a challenge as the Blue Jackets head to western Canada for three games before ending the trip in St. Louis.
Columbus has dropped five straight overall against the Canucks (39-15-9) and two in a row at Vancouver since winning 5-3 there Oct. 5, 2009. Columbus earned a point with a 3-2 overtime loss at Vancouver on Dec. 15.
Rick Nash, who had his six-game point streak snapped Sunday, has been held without a point in three straight versus Vancouver.
However, Columbus rookie Matt Calvert hopes to stay hot after scoring in four straight games. The 21-year-old winger has six of his 10 goals during that span.
After resting Sunday, Steve Mason could be in net looking for a fifth consecutive win. Mason has a 1.76 goals-against average while winning seven of eight, but has allowed 14 goals while losing his last three starts against the Canucks.
Mason replaced Mathieu Garon after he gave up six goals in a 7-3 home loss to Vancouver on Dec. 23.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined for two goals and five assists, Raffi Torres scored twice and Alex Burrows added a goal with an assist in that contest.
The Sedins went without a point in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Boston.
Vancouver has alternated wins and losses over the last 10 games.
"You don't want to look at the win loss record, but we've been playing alright, we just need to get a little bit more consistent as a team and we'll be back on the winning track here pretty soon," Vancouver's Roberto Luongo told the Canucks' official website.
The Canucks stocked up for the playoff push by acquiring center Maxim Lapierre from Anaheim and veteran forward Chris Higgins from Florida on Monday.Lapierre, who split time this season between Montreal and Anaheim, has five goals, six assists and 72 penalty minutes in 59 games. Higgins, expected to be out another week to 10 days with a broken thumb, has 11 goals with 12 assists.
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