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Jan 26, 2024 11:24 pm

All-Star-laden Canucks face Jackets going into break

First-place Vancouver wraps up a five-game homestand Saturday night by hosting the banged-up Columbus Blue Jackets in the Canucks’ final game before the All-Star break.

The 10-day, midseason break offers the Pacific Division and Western Conference leaders much needed time to rest and heal some nagging injuries.

It also will showcase six team members: Five players, including captain Quinn Hughes, and coach Rick Tocchet, have been invited to take part in the Feb. 3 showcase in Toronto. The other Canucks making the All-Star roster are Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller and goaltender Thatcher Demko.

The Blue Jackets, who are sending forward Boone Jenner to the All-Star Game, have three more games before they start their break on Wednesday.

The Canucks have won three of their last four games and have a 10-game point streak. Their last loss in regulation was Jan. 4.

Their last game was a 4-3 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Pius Suter scored a third-period hat trick to send the game into overtime, but Blues forward Brayden Schenn ended it 1:54 into the extra session by outmuscling Pettersson for the puck in front of the Vancouver goal.

On the winning play, the Blues’ Nick Leddy cycled the puck behind the net and fed Schenn out front. Schenn, who had knocked down Pettersson with a cross check that the Canucks thought merited a penalty, beat goalie Casey DeSmith with a shot from the left side.

Sweden’s Pettersson has 16 points in his last 10 games, but Tocchet told reporters after the game that he didn’t like the way Pettersson was performing.

“I haven’t liked his game in the last three or four games,” Tocchet said. “We got to get him going. He’s got to skate. He’s good with the moves, but when you have speed with those moves, that is when he is at his best.”

The Blue Jackets have lost five of their last seven. They will be playing the middle game of a five-game road trip. They’re 1-1, coming off a rugged 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Yegor Chinakhov, Damon Severson and Adam Fantilli all collected one goal and one assist for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a two-game skid.

“We got the job done,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “We didn’t give them much (after the first). In the second period, they had four shots, and in the third period, we played the proper way. We played with confidence and supported each other.”

“We are getting better as a team. We are a young team, we are a fast team. When we play the right way and we play hard and fast, we have beaten some pretty good teams,” forward Johnny Gaudreau, who spent nine seasons with the Flames before joining the Blue Jackets in 2022, said earlier in the week.

This was just Gaudreau’s second return to Calgary, and he was booed every time he touched the puck on Thursday.

The Blue Jackets lost forward Jack Roslovic to a questionable hit and defenseman Adam Boqvist to a freak accident on the bench when he lost a tooth after being hit in the face with the puck. Vincent said he saw a pool of blood and at least one missing tooth on the ground. There was no update on their injuries on Friday.

The Blue Jackets are without forward Patrik Laine, who suffered a broken collarbone Dec. 14 against Toronto.

–Field Level Media

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