Blue Jackets hope to rebound

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to bounce back from a lopsided loss to the defending world champions when they visit the Minnesota Wild for this evening's battle at Xcel Energy Center.

On Friday, the Blue Jackets were playing their first game since returning from Europe and the home opener against Chicago did not go as planned. Patrick Sharp scored twice and Marty Turco made 30 saves, leading the Blackhawks to the 5-2 decision at Nationwide Arena.

R.J. Umberger scored his 100th career goal, but Steve Mason allowed five goals on 40 shots for Columbus. The Blue Jackets began the season by splitting a two-game series last weekend against San Jose in Stockholm, Sweden, but were unable to carry any momentum into their first North American test of the year.

"That was a big fat egg we laid tonight," said Columbus head coach Scott Arniel. "System-wise, we were as loose as any games we've played, exhibition with all the kids in there. That was as loose as we've been...Everything we tried to do backfired on us."

Columbus will be on the road for just one game before returning to the Buckeye State for home tests against Anaheim and Calgary on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

The Wild posted their first win of the season Thursday against visiting Edmonton and tonight Minnesota can notch consecutive victories for the first time since winning three straight from March 12-16 of last season.

Mikko Koivu scored twice on the power play in a span of 52 seconds in the second period, lifting the Wild to the 4-2 win over the Oilers. It marked the ninth straight time Minnesota won its home opener and was also the Wild's first game since getting swept by Carolina in a season-opening two-game series in Helsinki, Finland.

Antti Miettinen and Matt Cullen also had man-advantage goals for the Wild, who were 4-for-6 overall on the power play and also killed off six of Edmonton's seven chances on the man advantage. Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves to get the win.

"The power play looked pretty good," Backstrom said. "The PK won the game for us."

The Wild victory continued the club's home dominance of the Oilers. Minnesota has won 14 straight as the host against Edmonton and has outscored the Oilers by a combined 50-18 score over that stretch.

Minnesota, which earned 25 of its 38 wins last year on home ice, will complete a three-game homestand Tuesday against Vancouver.

Columbus and the Wild split four meetings last year, but the Wild have taken seven of 10 and eight of the last 12 encounters overall. The Blue Jackets have also dropped four straight and seven of their last eight games at Xcel Energy Center.


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