Columbus Blue Jackets (25-17-3) vs. Vancouver Canucks (16-21-6)
FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2018, 7 p.m. (NATIONWIDE ARENA)
It's really hard to believe that this team was a powerhouse just a few years ago, but things have not been pretty for the Vancouver Canucks over the past couple of years. Hell, things have been downright ugly for this squad lately, as they have not seen the win column yet in 2018, losers of five games in a row.
Still, though, as long as there are Sedins on the ice for Vancouver, there's a chance for their opponent to walk away disappointed.
Gone are the days of each twin being a Hart Trophy candidate, but Daniel and Henrik are still plying their craft at age 37. They're doing it well, too, with 28 and 29 points, respectively, through 43 games.
Those two – and wunderkind Brock Boeser – aren't enough to keep the Canucks afloat, though. Even in a weak Pacific Division, they're lagging behind, ahead of only the lowly Arizona Coyotes in the standings. After picking fifth overall in the last two drafts, they're seemingly on their way to another similarly high pick.
You Oughta Know: Brock Boeser
A dark horse Calder candidate coming into the season, Brock Boeser has emerged as the frontrunner, and it's easy to see why.
Still just 20 years old, the former North Dakota standout has absolutely lit up the NHL so far, to the tune of 22-18-40 in 40 games. Just four players in the entire league have more goals than Boeser, who looks to be the biggest building block this team has as they look to the future. Drafted 23rd overall in the 2016 draft, he's been followed in the pipeline by two much higher picks (both fifth overall) in Olli Juoveli and Elias Pettersson.
- One sad fact here – former Blue Jacket Derek Dorsett retired earlier this season due to injuries, but he was off to the best start of his career for the Canucks this season, with 7 goals in 20 games.
- The Canucks have two former Jackets on the roster in Sam Gagner and Michael Chaput. Gagner's had some success this year, with 19 points in 43 games.
THIS YEAR: First meeting
ALL TIME SERIES: Jackets trail 19-27-2-7
Keys to the Game
ONE: Hit the bye week strong. A back-to-back is always a daunting task, but after dropping a game against the not-so-great Buffalo Sabres last night, the Jackets need the two points here desperately.
TWO: Pick up Panarin. Artemi Panarin was a one-man wrecking crew last night, but he hit the post three times. The Jackets need some sustained offense from other sources, and Alexander Wennberg's return could help that.
THREE: Shut down Boeser. It's strange to say, given that he's a 20-year-old playing on a different line than the Sedins, but he's the biggest source of offense by far for this Canucks team. Keeping him contained could be the difference between hitting the break strong and going into the bye searching for answers.
Team Projected Lineup
|26||Thomas Vanek||43 GP, 12-17-29||89||Sam Gagner||43 GP, 7-12-19||6||Brock Boeser||40 GP, 22-18-40|
|22||Daniel Sedin||43 GP, 10-18-29||33||Henrik Sedin||43 GP, 2-27-29||60||Markus Granlund||42 GP, 7-3-10|
|47||Sven Baertschi||32 GP, 8-10-18||50||Brendan Gaunce||26 GP, 1-1-2||77||Nickolay Goldobin||13 GP, 2-2-4|
|21||Loui Eriksson||31 GP, 5-8-13||17||Nic Dowd||13 GP, 1-0-1||18||Jake Virtanen||38 GP, 5-4-9|
|27||Ben Hutton||39 GP, 0-6-0||8||Chris Tanev||27 GP, 2-4-6|
|23||Alexander Edler||31 GP, 1-10-11||51||Troy Stetcher||29 GP, 1-2-3|
|4||Michael Del Zotto||43 GP, 2-11-13||44||Erik Gudbranson||30 GP, 0-2-2|