Canucks-Blue Jackets Preview
John Tortorella's lone season coaching the Vancouver Canucks can only be described as disastrous.
He'll face the Canucks for the first time since they fired him at the end of the 2013-14 season as he tries to guide the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first home victory Tuesday night.
Tortorella signed a five-year contract with Vancouver before the 2013-14 season, joining a veteran-laden franchise that had captured five straight Northwest Division titles and won the Western Conference in 2010-11.
He was let go one year into that deal after the Canucks went 36-35-11 for the West's third-worst record. The tumultuous season included a 15-day suspension for trying to start a fight with Calgary coach Bob Hartley, with Tortorella attempting to get into the Flames' locker room following a line brawl.
Vancouver received a second-round pick from Columbus as part of compensation for Tortorella being hired.
The coach spent time reflecting on his rocky tenure with the Canucks while unemployed, and Columbus (4-11-0) has shown signs of improvement under Tortorella, going 4-4-0 despite seven of those games being on the road.
The club's only home game since the coaching change was a 3-2 loss to Winnipeg on Oct. 31. The Blue Jackets are 0-5-0 at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus won two of three in California, failing to sweep the trip by losing 4-2 to Anaheim on Friday. Scott Hartnell scored twice, giving him five goals in his last six games.
However, Nick Foligno has one point in his last six games while Ryan Johansen has gone 11 straight without a goal. Those players were first and second on the team in points last season.
"I think we took steps in the right direction," Tortorella said. "We still need to get our top guys going more consistently, more in the right direction; Nick, Joey (Johansen), they need to produce for us.
"Hartnell's filling the net right now, and I think we're getting play from a lot of people but we need to get everybody going consistently."
Vancouver (6-4-5) has dropped three straight following Sunday's 4-3 overtime defeat at New Jersey. The Canucks are 0 for 12 on the power play during this slide.
Every Vancouver loss this season has been by one goal.
"We've played some great opponents and we've been in each and every game but again, you get on the wrong side of these games when you keep making mistakes, that's what we have to cut down," captain Henrik Sedin said.
Rookie Jared McCann has a team-high five goals but he and Alex Burrows haven't scored in the last four games. Radim Vrbata, who led Vancouver with 31 goals a season ago, has none in the past five games.
"We need more and it's not just one unit, it's both units, we need to generate more," coach Willie Desjardins said.
Defenseman Christopher Tanev, second on the team in ice time, missed the Devils game and is day to day.
One factor in Vancouver's favor is former Blue Jackets winger Derek Dorsett is 3-0-0 at Nationwide Arena as a visiting player.