Blue Jackets hope to regain footing vs. reeling Blackhawks

The Columbus Blue Jackets will attempt to avoid a third straight loss when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in the second of two meetings between the clubs this season.

Columbus lost to Carolina 4-2 on Thursday as the Blue Jackets suffered their sixth loss in nine games. Columbus also lost 4-1 to the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

"A few times, we were looking for the next play instead of shooting the puck," Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. "(Carolina) plays man-on-man in the (defensive) zone, so that's good when you have the right people to do it, and they do, but when you have a chance to shoot it, you have to shoot it."

Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov, who has just one assist over his last four games, was benched in the third period for turning the puck over too frequently, according to Vincent.

Johnny Gaudreau has a team-leading 42 points in 59 games this season (eight goals, 34 assists) and has one goal and four assists over his last five outings. Captain Boone Jenner leads the Jackets with 18 goals in 44 games this season.

Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is 11-13-7 this season with a 3.25 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.

Columbus, last in the Metropolitan Division and 9-14-6 on the road this season, beat the Blackhawks 7-3 on Nov. 22. Jenner scored two goals that night.

Chicago enters Saturday's contest after losing 5-0 to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

The Blackhawks, who are last in the Central Division, have just one win in their past 14 games (1-10-3).

"That was a tough one, honestly," Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi said. "That one hurts. I don't think we responded well when we got down. I think we got tentative. We were just kind of watching them make plays, watching them exit the zone. And it's frustrating.

"I think we've put in some good efforts. We were getting close. We were looking to get over that hump tonight, and we didn't have it. We didn't do it."

The Blackhawks haven't won since Feb. 17 when they defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Blackhawks are 11-16-4 at home.

"We've got to go back and look at how we started the (Colorado) game," Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. "I thought we skated very well and played well. It's disappointing at the end of the (first) period to give that one up. We started chasing the game a little bit then and didn't have the same type of execution defensively against them. Really, that led to not getting much offense going, either."

Connor Bedard leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 17 goals and 40 points in 46 games this season. He has two goals and five assists in seven games since returning earlier this month from jaw surgery. Nick Foligno has two goals and two assists in his last five games.

Blackhawks netminder Petr Mrazek is 13-23-4 with a 3.04 GAA and a .908 save percentage in 42 games this season.

--Field Level Media

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