Blue Jackets – Wild (3/19/2010)
The Columbus Blue Jackets, at three games under .500, will seek to climb a little closer on Friday night when they host the Minnesota Wild. The Blue Jackets are coming off their 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, while Minnesota edged St. Louis 4-2 on Sunday. Minnesota has a home game with Edmonton on Tuesday and at Nashville on Thursday.
The Wild are in 11th place overall in the Western Conference, but just six points behind 8th seeded Detroit. They trail St. Louis by a single point and Calgary by five for 9th and 10th. On the road this season, Minnesota is 11-20-3. The Wild are being out-scored on the season 197-188. Their leading scorer on the season is Mikki Koivu with 19 goals and 43 assists. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom is 24-19-6 on the season, with a 2.65 GAA. Backstrom is questionable for the game with a groin injury.
The Blue Jackets are 17-11-7 at home, and trail Anaheim by three points for 13th place in the Western Conference. Columbus has been out scored 226 – 183 on the season, for a differential of 43, which is third worst in the NHL. The Blue Jackets are led in scoring by Rick Nash with 29 assists and 28 goals.
In the season opener for both teams, the Blue Jackets downed the Wild 2-1 at Nationwide Arena. The two teams then met again in the middle of December, with the Wild returning the favor with a 2-1 win. That game was in a streak of eight straight losses for Columbus. On January 23rd, Columbus returned to Minnesota, and the Wild picked up a 4-2 win. This will be the final time these two teams meet up this season.