CANUCKS LOSE 4-2 IN COLUMBUS
The Vancouver Canucks fell 4-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets to end their 12-day, six game road trip. Last night's game saw the team get off to a slow and down 3-1 heading into the third period.
The Canucks returned from the second intermission with a sense of urgency, pressuring the Blue Jackets and creating multiple scoring opportunities. Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal LeClaire stood on his head, stunting the Canucks come-from-behind effort at 3-2, before Rick Nash sealed the victory with an empty net goal with 19 seconds left in the game.
"The road trip didn't turn out the way we anticipated," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "We're still in the process of evaluating our team. Our starts, our specialty teams need to get better. I don't know if the start is preparation, a save, a goal on the power play or a combination of all of the above. But obviously, we need to do a better job there."
While the players are not satisfied with losing four of the last five games, Vigneault maintains that this is a significant learning opportunity for the new team and a chance to work out problems early in the season.
"We were all buzzing during camp and at the beginning about the new impact of the leadership group within our dressing room," said Vigneault. "It's easy to lead and impact when things are going well. It's a different story when you're struggling a little bit. You're pressing. I think this is a great moment for our group, this is a great teaching moment for them.
"It's about finding out things about yourself, about the group and about the team.
"I know these people, I've been around them for a long time. I'm really confident this little adversity we're facing right now will get us on the right track."
The players are quick to admit that they don't feel the team is playing to its potential and there are a lot of things to work on.
"We even allowed a goal off the rush on the penalty kill, which is something we hadn't allowed," said Kevin Bieksa
. "We're all obviously a bit down right now. But it's a long season and we feel like we've got a good team in here and it's just a matter of time until we show it."BIEKSA, WELLWOOD HIGHLIGHTS
Bieksa playing in his second game back from a minor knee sprain was a highlight of the game, playing a team leading 28 minutes and scoring a goal. Another positive from last night's game was Kyle Wellwood, who registered a goal and assist, apparently benefiting from four days off.
He admittedly felt better than he had in months during the pregame skate.
"I was excited to play," said Wellwood. "I had some jump again and I could really feel it before the game, then on my first shift.
"To have those days off and think there's only a five percent chance you'll come back to the NHL - like I was telling my family - it's a blessing to get another shot like this. You just try to do your best. If I can help the team win, I'm going to be here. If I go back to being sluggish and not being able to contribute, I won't be here."
Wellwood got his second chance after being recalled by the Canucks when Darcy Hordichuk, Pavol Demitra, and Sami Salo
were injured in the game against Chicago last Sunday and Rick Rypien fell ill. Wellwood was reassigned to the Manitoba Moose on October 18th, but before he reported to the AHL team he was recalled. Vingeault indicated that Wellwood's play would dictate his future.
Matt Pettinger was recalled as well, but did not clear re-entry waivers and was claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jason Krog, who is exempt from re-entry waivers was also called up from the Moose to play in last night's game.
The Canucks will have to pay half Pettinger's $1.1-million-US salary and count half his $1-million cap hit against Vancouver's salary cap.
"[The financial risk is] never insignificant, but it wasn't significant enough to stop us from recalling him," said Gillis. "I hope he does well in Tampa; he needs to get his career restarted."OTHER NEWS:
The Canucks Open Practice
presented by BC Hydro Power Smart, will be streamed live on canucks.com. The practice will take place Sunday, October 26, 2008 at GM Place. Fans will have the opportunity to watch their favourite canucks players take to the ice in preparation of their October 28th match up against the Boston Bruins.