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Canucks try to bust out of slump against Blue Jackets

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks currently are finding both goals and wins difficult to come by. The club hopes to break out of its slump on Friday when it welcomes the Columbus Blue Jackets for a battle at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks have lost five straight games and have scored a total of six goals during the 0-3-2 stretch. The only time Vancouver managed to score more than one goal during the slide was in its last game, a 3-2 shootout loss on Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.

The loss to the visiting Panthers dropped Vancouver to 1-0-2 so far on a six- game homestand. The Canucks are only 4-4-2 on home ice this season, but tonight's opponent has had little success playing British Columbia over the years. Columbus has dropped six straight in Vancouver and hasn't won at Rogers Arena since a 5-3 decision on Oct. 5, 2009.

The Canucks did lose earlier this season in Columbus, as R.J. Umberger scored the game-winner in the third period to lift the Blue Jackets to a 3-1 win. Curtis McElhinney stopped 37 shots for Columbus to earn the win, which was just the third victory for the Jackets in the past 15 encounters between the clubs.

Vancouver fell behind 1-0 to the Panthers less than four minutes into the game, but the Canucks eventually held a 2-1 lead early in the third period. However, Shawn Matthias tied the game at 2-2 for Florida with 11:26 to go in regulation and Jonathan Huberdeau scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Panthers the win. Florida goaltender Tim Thomas stopped all three Vancouver attempts in the tiebreaker.

Roberto Luongo put together a solid showing for Vancouver with 34 saves, but it was not enough to end Vancouver's losing streak, which is the club's longest since an 0-5-3 skid from Jan. 9-31, 2009.

"I just don't know what we're thinking as far as how we start a game," Canucks head coach John Tortorella said. "I can't explain it."

Including tonight's contest, Vancouver has three games left on its homestand. The club will host Chicago tomorrow night before wrapping the residency Monday against Los Angeles.

Columbus, meanwhile, is playing the fourth part of a five-game road trip on Friday and is 2-1-0 on the swing so far.

The Blue Jackets won the opener of the trip in Ottawa by a 4-1 score before getting absolutely destroyed in a 7-0 defeat Tuesday night in Edmonton. However, Columbus was able to right itself after the lopsided loss to the Oilers, picking up a 2-1 overtime win the following night in Calgary.

Nikita Nikitin scored the game-winner 2:25 into overtime to lift the Blue Jackets to the rebound victory on Wednesday. Flames goalie Reto Berra was able to stop a shot from point-blank range, but David Savard found Nikitin in front of the net and Berra was unable to recover in time as the puck crossed the goal line for the win.

Nick Foligno also scored and Nikitin had an assist for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 23 shots in the win.

"I thought we battled," Columbus head coach Todd Richards said. "We got the win. We got two points, which is important."

Bobrovsky expects to get the start tonight and is 1-0-2 with a 1.05 goals against average in four career outings against the Canucks. Luongo is 10-5-5 with a 2.11 GAA in 20 lifetime starts versus Columbus.

11/22 10:49:11 ET

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Schedule

Wednesday, April 16Full Scoreboard
Montreal 4/16 7:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay CNBC, CBC, RDS, SunSports
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Columbus 4/16 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, FS-OH, ROOT
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Dallas 4/16 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim NBCSN, TSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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PHO
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CLB
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DUR
NOR