Cory Schneider has seized the reins in a so-called goaltending controversy in Vancouver, and he did nothing to relinquish them last night at Rogers Arena.
The Blue Jackets opened their four-game Canadian road trip with a 4-1 loss to the Canucks, who won their fifth straight game and climbed back into the Western Conference playoff picture. For Columbus, it was a frustrating result as they put 48 shots toward Schneider (a franchise record for a regulation game) but could only dent him once.
Vancouver opened the scoring at 3:19 of the first period with its No. 1 line on the ice. Alex Edler put a half-slapper toward the goal, and it stopped dead in the left circle after hitting the skate of a defender. Daniel Sedin was there to pick it up and scored for an early 1-0 lead. It was a 1-0 game without many quality chances until late in the opening period, when the Canucks second line capitalized on an extended offensive-zone shift.
David Booth was alone at the side of the goal and backhanded a loose puck between the legs of Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis Sanford for a 2-0 lead at 17:42. That was the margin until early in the third period, when Columbus took advantage of a Vancouver miscue on the power play.
Antoine Vermette made a heads-up play to carry the puck into the Canucks zone while shorthanded, and Fedor Tyutin put a soft shot into Schneider’s pads. The resulting rebound was slammed home by Sammy Pahlsson to cut the lead to 2-1 with more than 15 minutes left in regulation. Less than 90 seconds later, the Canucks game right back.
Ryan Kesler buried a one-time feed from Alexandre Burrows at 5:55 of the third to restore a two-goal lead for Vancouver, and Burrows also added an empty-net goal for the 4-1 final.
Pahlsson’s goal appeared as if it would be a turning point in the game for the Blue Jackets, especially given the momentum-changing nature of shorthanded goals. The Canucks top-ranked power play still had time to operate, and Kesler cashed in just seconds after Columbus returned to full strength.
Burrows feathered a perfect pass to Kesler who was camped at the left face-off circle. His fifth of the season quickly halted any momentum generated by the Blue Jackets.
- The Blue Jackets allowed the first goal of the game for the 14th time this season. The club is now 1-11-2 in those games, while going 1-8-1 when trailing after the first period and 0-9-1 when trailing after two periods.
- Columbus is now 13-21-7 all-time against Vancouver, including a 6-12-3 mark at Rogers Arena. The Canucks have won nine-straight meetings between the clubs.
- Pahlsson scored his first goal in 27 games with his tally tonight. He had last scored Apr. 1 vs. Chicago. He has two shorthanded goals his last 37 games (other was scored Mar. 12 at Carolina) after he went 222 games without a shorthanded goal (Mar. 9, 2008 vs. Montreal as a member of the Anaheim Ducks). He has points in back-to-back games after going 10 games without a point.
- Tyutin has assists in three-straight games after notching an assist on Pahlsson’s goal. He also has assists in five of the past six games. He has picked up 2-9-11 the last 17 games after being held to 0-1-1 the first eight games of the season. He has played in 21-or-more minutes in every game this season, including 24:54 tonight.
- James Wisniewski played a game-high 27:33 of ice time tonight. He has played in 25-plus minutes in all but two games this season and entered the night second in the NHL in time on ice average.
- Vermette picked up his eighth assist of the season on Pahlsson’s goal. He has 2-8-10 the last 18 games after opening the season pointless the first six games.
vs. Calgary Flames
Scotiabank Saddledome | Calgary, Alberta
Thursday, 9 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com