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Blue Jackets Vs. Canucks NHL Preview: Columbus Needs To Stifle Vancouver Early

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

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 10:  James Wisniewski #21 of the Columbus Blue Jackets takes a shot while playing the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on December 10, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Boston won the game 5-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 10: James Wisniewski #21 of the Columbus Blue Jackets takes a shot while playing the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on December 10, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Boston won the game 5-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had much of their recent flame extinguished, as they've dropped two games straight, including Saturday's home loss to the Boston Bruins. Columbus recently started a five-game homestand, but have lost both of the first two games with the home crowd, including a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators and the aforementioned 5-3 loss to Boston.

There's no immediate relief in sight, with three tough games coming up on this homestand. Columbus wraps it up with games against the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning, but first they have to deal with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. That's a tall order, given how Vancouver has handled themselves of late. In each of their last six games, the Canucks have scored four or more goals. They've out-scored opponents 19-5 over their last four games, all of which were wings. Their last outing was a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

For Columbus, it will be about stifling Vancouver early and not crumbling in the third period, something they've been prone to do this season. They've done that 12 times this year - 12 games lost in the third period (or games lost and taken to overtime/shootout, where they promptly lost). With Vancouver experiencing such a high point in their offensive output, the Blue Jackets can't afford to make any mistakes.

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

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