Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 9/25/14
Hello Ohio The Canucks kick off a three game road trip in Columbus this afternoon that also ends in Columbus next week, the circle of hockey life. We’ve now hit the midway point of the season and the Canucks are still mired in a mini-slump where, outside of the Kings game, they haven’t been playing to their potential. Remember, this season is the lightning season where every game counts double, so turning things around with a few wins on this trip and making some separation from a Western Conference packed tighter than a 99 B-Line in rush hour is critical. Thankfully, the next two games are against Columbus. Matchup: Vancouver Canucks (11 – 6– 5) v Columbus Blue Jackets (7 – 12–4) Venue: Nationwide Arena Time: 4:00 pm PT TV/Radio: Sportsnet, Team 1040 Game Notes It’s too bad Ryan Kesler is out for the latest meeting between his team and R.J. Umberger’s. Their mutual hatred could have lifted this game past being just another afternoon road game. This also the afternoon you realize Adrian Aucoin landed in Columbus. What to watch: Columbus It’s inept business as usual for Columbus, who hold the prized distinction of being perhaps the only team in the West guaranteed not to make the playoffs. Steve Mason is once again having an up and down year as his rookie season slips further and further away, and there’s not much else in Columbus holding them down in the post Rick Nash era. Interestingly, they’ve killed 17 straight penalties at a time when the Canucks haven’t scored on 15 straight opportunities. Line-up Matt Calvert-Artem Anisimov-Cam Atkinson R.J. Umberger-Ryan Johansen-Nick Foligno Vinny Prospal-Mark Letestu-Derek Dorsett Colton Gilles-Derek MacKenzie-Jared Boll Fedor Tyutin-Jack Johnson Tim Erixon-Adrian Aucoin Cody Goloubef-Daulton Prout Sergei Bobrovsky What to watch: Vancouver Without Ryan Kesler and at times Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks are sputtering along, played good yet flawed games. The Canucks are sputtering along. Wake up Twins! The blueline injuries are out in full force as Bieksa and Keith Ballard will sit tonight, making the third pairing Andrew Alberts and Cam Barker. Panicking yet? The Canucks will need some wins under their belt to hold their Northwest rivals at bay, and they can’t afford to not take two from the last place team in the conference. Thankfully, they’ve taken at least a point against Columbus in 11 straight meetings. Cory Schneider’s in net and is 3-1-1 on the road. Line-up Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows Chris Higgins-Mason Raymond-Jannik Hansen David Booth-Maxim Lapierre-Zack Kassian Tom Sestito-Jordan Schroeder-Dale Weise Alex Edler-Chris Tanev Dan Hamhuis-Jason Garrison Cam Barker-Andrew Alberts Cory Schneider Injuries The Jackets will miss Brandon Dubinsky, James Wisniewski and John Moore tonight. For the Canucks, as mentioned, Bieksa and Ballard will join Kesler in popcorn duty tonight, testing the blueline depth the most this year. Prediction Either the Canucks win or sports radio explodes. Tweets NO Tweets. Sorry CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY ON NWSB!

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