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Blue Jackets Vs. Wild NHL Preview: Ryan Johansen Lone Bright Spot

For more on the Blue Jackets, go to The Cannon.

The Columbus Blue Jackets really are in a bad position on the season. Sitting at 3-12-1, the team's bright spots are few and far between. The biggest bright spot has been rookie Ryan Johansen, who has the game-winning goal in all three of the team's wins. The 19-year-old center scored the game-winner in the team's last outing, over the Winnipeg Jets. On Tuesday, they'll try and salvage a three-game homestand in which they've won and lost one game when they take on the surging Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota represents a tough test, with new faces on the team like Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi performing at a high level. The Wild are winners in six of their last eight games, but they need to beat the Blue Jackets to maintain their winning record, after starting the season in such a rough spot. Minnesota started the year incredibly inconsistently, with all of the new moving parts on the team not really fitting in and working cohesively, as moving parts should. 

Niklas Backstrom has been huge for the Wild, with a 2-1 record on the road swing and a 1.74 goals-against average. The Wild are expecting top defenseman Marco Scandella out with a concussion and fellow blueliner Clayton Stoner either limited or out with a finger injury, so Backstrom needs to be especially good against the Blue Jackets. He's part of a team that is allowing just 2.08 goals per game, the second fewest in the NHL.

Ryan Johansen will be getting more playing time for the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, a welcome change as the team has been concerned with the rookie seeing too much ice time too early, but he's shown he's game to the task. The Blue Jackets are fighting an uphill battle in this game, and need things that haven't been going their way of late to make a shift on their favor, like their measly 10.8% conversion number on their power play. Unfortunately, the Wild is killing penalties 83.3% of the time.

The game is set for Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. eastern.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.