CANUCKS (12-7-6) 2, BLUE JACKETS (10-12-5) 1
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
The only thing standing in the way of the Blue Jackets' win streak tonight was a somewhat lucky shootout goal that will definitely raise some eyebrows.
POST GAME: JACKETS FALL 2-1 IN SO
Make no mistake: Mason Raymond's shootout and game-deciding goal was not the most creative or quirky attempt the NHL has seen in the last 48 hours, after Kaspars Daugavins of Ottawa stole the hockey headlines last night at Scotiabank Place with his twirling manuever. But Raymond stretched NHL rules to the limit with his spin-o-rama, appearing to come to a complete stop before roofing it into an empty net behind Sergei Bobrovsky.
After a combined three failed attempts by both clubs, Raymond's stood tall as the winner - and the Canucks ended a four-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets, who weren't at their best in this game and relied heavily on Bobrovsky, extended a points streak to eight straight games by getting beyond regulation but saw their five-game winning streak halted.
With one club (Vancouver) scuffling over the past week and the Blue Jackets riding high after a shootout win in Detroit on Sunday, the first period was surprisingly uneventful. There was little push from the Canucks and the Blue Jackets played a patient opening 20 minutes before getting on the board early in the second period.
Mark Letestu started and finished his own play three minutes into the frame, putting a shot from the right wing boards into Roberto Luongo's pads, driving to the net and collecting his own rebound for a 1-0 Columbus lead.
Despite failing to beat Bobrovsky on a late second period power play in which they spent nearly the entirety in the Blue Jackets zone, the Canucks were finally able to break through on their 25th shot of the hockey game at 16:11 of the middle stanza. Jason Garrison, foiled on a prime scoring chance minutes earlier, collected the puck at the left point and fired a slap shot through a double screen that Bobrovsky never saw, pulling Vancouver even at 1-1.
Adrian Aucoin had the best chance of overtime, pinching in at the high slot and rifling a one-timer just past Luongo's stick side post after a great feed by RJ Umberger.
The Canucks' goal really got them going, and it came at just the right time -- their power play was all around the Columbus net but Bobrovsky kept slamming the door in their face. The Nationwide Arena crowd was behind the goaltender, and a standing ovation was the loudest roar of the night. Seconds later, though, Garrison woke the Canucks back up with his rocket shot from the point.
- Heck of a first game back for Brandon Dubinsky, whose lines was all around the puck tonight. He played 19:36 in the game, took two shots on goal, had five hits and won nearly 70 percent of his face-offs (11-for-16). Not bad after missing 11 games with a knee sprain. But in all seriousness, the Blue Jackets are a much better team with Dubinsky in the lineup.
- The players talked about it in the dressing room post-game: Bobrovksy gave them every chance to win the game and was easily their best player. He made 37 saves on the night, and improved his record to 6-1-2 in his last nine appearances. In that span, he has a GAA of 1.55 and a .946 save percentage.
- Matt Calvert's a blast to watch, and you can tell opponents are starting to figure out when he's on the ice. After he burned the Canucks for an overtime winner last week, they had two defenders glued to him in 4-on-4 overtime tonight, and it took both of them to get the puck free. He was involved once again tonight and makes things happen every shift.
- Thought Letestu played another solid game tonight and showed his versatility. After playing center for most of the past month-plus, he shifted back to the wing tonight with Dubinsky returning and there was no difference in his play. He scored the opening goal and was sound in the defensive end, helping with zone exits when the Blue Jackets really needed it.
vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday, 7 p.m.