Canucks open lengthy swing in Columbus

( – The Vancouver Canucks begin their longest road trip of
the season on Friday night looking for a third straight victory as they visit
the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Friday night’s stop in Columbus is the start of a seven-game, 12-day trip for
Vancouver, which is an excellent 8-3-0 on the road this season.

The Canucks finished up a 2-0-1 homestand with Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the New
Jersey Devils, with Ryan Miller making 20 saves for his second shutout of the
season and 31st of his career.

Alex Burrows and Shawn Matthias supplied the goals for the Canucks, who won
for the eighth time in their last 10 games (8-1-1) on a night the team honored
Pat Quinn.

Quinn, an original member of the franchise, died on Sunday at the age of 71.
He played two seasons in Vancouver during his nine-year NHL career, then later
served as head coach and general manager, racking up a 141-111-28 record and
taking the club to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994. Quinn took home the Jack
Adams Trophy as the league’s top coach that year.

“That was a game we wanted to win. We had a good start … Lots of guys have
played hard, and that’s all you can ask for,” admitted Canucks head coach
Willie Desjardins.

The Canucks aren’t scheduled to play at home again until Dec. 13 and stand a
solid chance at getting their road trip off to a good start. They have won 13
of their past 16 versus the Blue Jackets overall and six of their last nine
trips to Columbus.

Not only has Vancouver had a ton of success in this series overall, but
Columbus comes in having lost four in a row and 13 of its last 15 games

The Blue Jackets’ struggles continued with Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the visiting
Winnipeg Jets, who scored just nine seconds into the game and the took over
with a two-goal second period.

Defenseman Jordan Leopold scored a power-play goal in the first frame, while
Ryan Johansen also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky came up with 28 saves.
Defenseman James Wisniewski played in his 500th NHL game and recorded his
250th point with an assist on Johansen’s goal.

“I really thought the group was ready after what we worked on,” said Blue
Jackets coach Todd Richards. “That first goal really set us back.”

Richards may be counting down the days until forward Brandon Dubinsky can
rejoin the club and that may not be too far off. Dubinsky has yet to play this
season due to abdominal surgery, but has returned to practice.

“It was great to have him out on the ice,” Richards told his club’s website on
Thursday. “It’s a step in the right direction. (It) didn’t look like the speed
or anything like that, like he was out of place — but you could tell that he
hadn’t been out there in a while. The more reps you get, the more
opportunities he gets to skate with us, the better.”

Dubinsky will not play tonight nor on Saturday against Nashville, but a return
to action next week remains a possibility. The 28-year-old had 16 goals and 50
points in 76 games last season.