CANUCKS 5 | BLUE JACKETS 0
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said Friday morning that the Canucks are a team that makes opponents earn every inch of ice. Such was evident in their 5-0 victory tonight at Nationwide Arena, making very few mistakes and managing their game from start to finish.
It was a difficult game for the Blue Jackets right from the get-go, as it was very clear that Vancouver was going to challenge every loose puck and activate its defensemen to prevent clean breakouts. The old hockey cliche of making your opponent play “a 200-foot game” was the name of this game for the visitors, who made sure the Blue Jackets didn't get much more than one-and-done opportunities in the offensive zone.
But still, the Blue Jackets had chances in the first two periods. Plenty of them. They were able to counter-attack and their fifth-ranked power play was both hit and miss despite coming up empty, however it was Ryan Miller who kept the Canucks steady and confident between the pipes. He made 30 saves to record his second straight shutout.
A key item to remember: this was a 1-0 hockey as the third period began, and, to put it frankly, everything came unhinged.
Henrik Sedin scored off a ridiculous no-look pass from Radim Vrbata just 48 seconds into the third period and the Canucks were off and running. They scored four times in the third period, including three in the final 10 minutes of regulation, to pull away.
Shawn Matthias pounced on a turnover and scored off the rush with 8:11 to play. Then, trailing 3-0, the Blue Jackets pulled Sergei Bobrovsky with over five minutes to go, hoping to get a spark and play with some desperation - but Brad Richardson promptly scored into the empty cage to make it 4-0 Vancouver.
On the other side, the Blue Jackets suffered their second 5-0 defeat on home ice in the last 10 days.
“It’s unacceptable to get shutout in the NHL,” defenseman Jack Johnson said.
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said his team is unmistakably frustrated and trying to get results, but right now, they have re-group and play another game in 24 hours. They’ll face the red-hot Nashville Predators tomorrow at Bridgestone Arena on the second leg of a back-to-back.
“Good teams win in this league by playing all game long and not making excuses,” Nick Foligno said. “It seems like we don’t have enough confidence.”
Down 1-0 through two periods, the Blue Jackets were very much in the game and one goal probably turns the game around (in their favor). But the Canucks came out on the front foot with a strong shift, capitalizing less than a minute into the third on that great feed by Vrbata to Sedin and taking a two-goal lead.
at Nashville Predators
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET