Less than a week after Vancouver claimed him on waivers from Columbus, Beech returned to Nationwide Arena and scored against his former Blue Jackets teammates, albeit in a losing cause, as Columbus upended Vancouver 3-2 Tuesday night.
After the Blue Jackets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, courtesy two powerplay goals in the first seven minutes, Beech took a nifty backhand feed from Byron Ritchie and one-timed the puck past Pascal Leclaire to make it 2-1.
But when asked if it felt different to score against his former goaltender, his former team, Beech said he was treating the game like any other. In fact, his former teammates made him.
“The way Danny Fritsche ran me there in one of the first shifts, I don’t think it’s too difficult,” said Beech. “You know, it’s the same as any other team. You’ve got to go out there and work hard and play hard.”
The goal was Beech’s first ever as a Canuck, his sixth of the season overall, and, most importantly, it pulled Vancouver into a game that looked like it might become a rout.
“Yeah, I think Roberto [Luongo] kept us in that [first] period and we took too many penalties,” said Beech. “You can’t come out against a team that’s going to be ready to play like that and take so many penalties when they’re so excited and hyper to play.”
Vancouver’s first penalty of the night went to Aaron Miller for hooking at 1:20.
Ron Hainsey took advantage less than a minute later when he fired a wrister from the point that went post-and-in. With Mike Peca setting a perfect screen, Luongo never had a chance.
Less than five minutes later, Nikolai Zherdev doubled the Columbus lead.
With Henrik Sedin
in the box, again for hooking, Zherdev corralled the puck off the faceoff and fired a snapshot that beat Luongo five-hole. The goal came just two seconds after Henrik’s penalty began.
After Beech scored at the 16:53 mark of the first period, Daniel Sedin
tied things up with a second period 5-on-3 goal. Sami Salo
froze the Columbus defenders with a slap-pass from the point to Henrik Sedin
at the goal line. Henrik, in turn, flipped a pass out to Daniel who was all alone in front of the net. Daniel made no mistake.
But after Vancouver’s long uphill climb had appeared to end, the Canucks found themselves again trailing just three minutes later, when Jason Chimera took a Fritsche pass and redirected it past Luongo. Ryan Kesler
had Vancouver’s best chance to tie things up late in the third when he found a loose puck in the slot and fired it at the Columbus goal. Leclaire made the save and a frustrated Kesler broke his stick over his knee.