Wild-Blue Jackets Preview
Teams around the NHL have noticed that the Columbus Blue Jackets have knocked off the NHL's top two teams.
Now they will try to make it three in a row with a goaltender who has never won as a starter as they host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Columbus (15-22-3) won 6-3 over Western Conference-leading Dallas on Tuesday before a 5-4 shootout win over East-leading Washington on Saturday.
Not bad for the league's worst team.
''We've won two in a row here against the best teams in the league,'' coach John Tortorella said. ''Ugly as hell at times but you still find a way to win them."
The Blue Jackets beat the Capitals despite losing Curtis McElhinney to an injury in overtime. Anton Forsberg entered and earned his first career win.
''It's not the situation you thought you would be in,'' Forsberg said. ''I couldn't do anything else, just to go in and take it for what it is.''
With McElhinney and regular starter Sergei Bobrovsky both out, Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo are Tortorella's goalies. Forsberg is expected to make his first start of the season after he went 0-4-0 with a 4.69 goals-against average in five last season.
"It's a big opportunity for them and I know they're excited about it, and we're excited for them as well," captain Nick Foligno told the Blue Jackets' official website.
Minnesota (20-11-7) isn't taking anything for granted, taking note of Columbus' strong play as it seeks to avoid its third three-game slide.
"I don't think that that's a building that we can just say we can go in and take advantage of them," coach Mike Yeo said. "That's a tough building to play in and I think that's going to be a really, really tough game for us."
The Wild ended a 0-3-2 slide in the series by spoiling Tortorella's first game as Columbus coach in a 3-2 home victory Oct. 22. They have lost three of five at Columbus since Yeo took over in 2011-12.
Minnesota is trying to capture the finale of a four-game trip after Sunday's 2-1 defeat in Florida. The Wild finished with 40 shots for their highest total on the road.
The club went 0 for 4 on the power play to drop to 1 for 17 in the last eight games.
"I don't know," Yeo said. "We keep trying different things, whether it's set-ups or personnel. It's difficult not having practice time right now but this is what we have to deal with and we have to find a way."
Thomas Vanek has one of his team-high 12 goals in his last nine games while Zach Parise is goalless in his last six.
The Blue Jackets' Brandon Saad has six goals and 11 points in a seven-game streak and Foligno has eight points in a six-game streak.
Columbus star Ryan Johansen is enduring a season-high, 14-game goal drought for his longest since going without a goal for the final 25 games in 2011-12.
Tortorella said David Clarkson is out indefinitely after the forward got hurt Saturday. Defenseman Cody Goloubef is expected to return from a 19-game absence due to a broken jaw.