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Still looking for a win

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 5-3 loss to Columbus.

Roberto Luongo gave up three goals on three shots over a span of 3:44 less than six minutes into the second period.

Boo birds were flying everywhere throughout GM Place and for good reason. Going back to Columbus’ final shot of the first period, which also beat Luongo, the Canucks captain allowed four goals on four shots before getting the hook in favour of Andrew Raycroft.

The Canucks trailed 4-1 at that point and battled back to cut the Blue Jackets lead to 4-3, but similar to the first two games of the season, they couldn’t find the puck luck to bury one last goal.

Willie Mitchell has been Vancouver’s best blueliner through three games and he was one of the team’s best offensive players in this tilt as well.

Mitchell assisted on the Canucks’ second goal and scored the third to finish with a pair of points; he is now averaging a point a game in this young season.

Speedster Mason Raymond was bumped up to the second line in the middle frame, partially because he was one of the only Canucks in the zone offensively, and also as a result of Sergei Shirokov struggling mightily all over the ice.

Skating alongside Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson, Raymond responded with numerous scoring opportunities and eight shots on goal. His speed drew defenders and helped teammates find holes; they simply could not get that clutch goal when needed.

Four goals allowed on four consecutive shots, three goals against on three shots in 3:44 to start the second period. That is not very Roberto Luongo-like, to say the least.

Luongo has yet to find his mojo between the pipes having now allowed 12 goals in only three games. He’ll rebound, there’s no doubt about that, but no one is singing his praises after being pulled for the first time since March 21, 2009.

Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault on the fact that his players aren’t being rewarded for the effort their putting in:

“We haven’t won yet so obviously there’s some areas we need to improve on, but overall our guys worked extremely hard. Yes again we got behind by three goals, but we battled real hard. Their goaltender was real strong tonight and we’re going to get back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

Defenceman Sami Salo played in his 600th NHL game on Monday. The 35-year-old native of Turku, Finland was drafted in the ninth round by the Ottawa Senators in the 1996 NHL Entry draft. He played his first NHL game two seasons later on October 10, 1998 against the Colorado Avalanche.

Salo has been a mainstay on Vancouver’s blueline for the past six seasons since being acquired in a trade with the Senators that sent forward Peter Schaefer out East.

Tuesday is an off day for the Canucks, they’ll hit the ice at GM Place for a morning skate that will likely push them to the extreme.

On Wednesday the Montreal Canadiens swing through town as part of a three-game Western road trip that has them in Calgary Tuesday night before hitting Vancouver.

The Habs are 2-0 to start the season. Game time is 7 p.m. PST.

NUMBERS

1 – Goal allowed by backup netminder Andrew Raycroft on 12 shots after stepping in early in the second period.

3 – Straight games the Canucks have trailed by three goals to their opposition.

40 – Average shots on goal for the Canucks through three games. That ties Vancouver for second in the NHL with Dallas.

600 – NHL games played for defenceman Sami Salo, believe it or not.

1,810 – New attendance at GM Place thanks to the sparkling addition of the Best Buy Club.

QUOTABLE
“Obviously not a great game. We got ourselves into a hole early and kind of like the first couple games we battled back, but it’s tough to make comebacks in this league."

-Roberto Luongo

“We’ve just got to keep working hard. I don’t think we had this many shots last year in any of our games and that’s the positive we’ve got to take out of this."

-Darcy Hordichuk


“That’s going to happen when you give the team a three goal lead, you’re going to carry the play and we did, but once again we weren’t able to get the equalizer."

-Kyle Wellwood
OFFENCE

For the first time this season the Canucks were able to score first with Henrik Sedin scoring goal #1 of the season with less than five minutes to play in the first period.

After that Columbus took hold and even though Vancouver managed to solve Chris Mason twice more, they couldn't sneak the all important tying goal past him. 

The Canucks had an impressive 43 shots on goal and now have 120 in three outings.

DEFENCE

There were a few breakdowns that led to odd-man rushes and unlike most nights, Roberto Luongo was unable to bail his team out when Columbus pressed.

The last line of defence had a terrible outing with four goals against on 12 shots, the bright side is that backup Andrew Raycroft got some playing time and he was decent. Raycroft allowed only one score on 12 attempts.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Canucks finished 0-for-3 on the power play, which includes blowing a 5-on-3 late in the first period. Kevin Bieksa hit the post on a shot that could have put the Canucks up 2-0 and shifted this game.

Columbus finished 1-for-3 with their lone power play marker coming late in the third to officially snuff out any chance of a Vancouver comeback.

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