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The Goods: Comeback kids

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 4-3 win over Columbus.

(Note: if reading this story on the new Canucks iphone app, it may not format properly. We are currently resolving the issue.)

…Mikael Samuelsson took a wedge of his bag and lofted a lazy shot up and over Steve Mason and into the Columbus net for a hole-in-one, his 20th of the season, to give Vancouver a 4-3 lead it would not relinquish.

Andrew Raycroft got the start in goal for the Canucks and 22 seconds into the game that decision came under fire when Rick Nash snapped the first Columbus shot past him. Nolan Baumgartner responded less than two minutes later with his first goal in four years (although just 43 NHL games), but the Blue Jackets swarmed again 30 seconds after that to take a 2-1 lead.

Columbus took a suffocating 3-1 lead midway through the second, but another quick goal, this one scored by Kyle Wellwood just nine seconds after the Jackets' goal, cut the lead to 3-2, which is how the score stood through 40 minutes.

Vancouver’s third come-from-behind win on its eight game road trip was jumpstarted 4:31 into the third when Sami Salo rippled the mesh on the power play for his sixth of the campaign.

Samuelsson’s bizarre goal, which went off of Derick Brassard and in, sealed it for the Canucks eight minutes into the frame.

The decision to give Roberto Luongo the night off made sense in that the Canucks are in the midst of playing three games in four nights, but early on it looked like a disastrous choice.

Andrew Raycroft took a few shots before he found his rhythm and fortunately for the Canucks they were only down a goal at that point. Starting for the third time in seven games, Rayzor shook off his initial cobwebs to stop 32 of 35 shots, including 19 in the third period, to earn the 100th victory of his career and help the Canucks win back-to-back games for the first time since the end of January.

Raycroft is now 6-4-0 on the season with .913 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average. Most importantly, he’s proven he can be relied on between the pipes.

It’s not entirely fair to say that the Sedins weren’t themselves once again as both Daniel and Henrik had an assist each, we’ve just become accustomed to such greatness that anything less than three points each feels like a disappointment.

Still, the production of the Sedins alone would have doomed the Canucks on this night, thankfully Vancouver got timely goals from Nolan Baumgartner and Sami Salo.

Baumgartner’s first goal since January 24, 2006, versus the Blue Jackets coincidently enough, got the Canucks on the scoreboard early on. After pinching up on the play, Baumgartner found a hole in front of the goal and Alex Burrows hit him with a bull’s-eye pass for an easy one-timer.

Salo’s first goal in seven contests was scored in familiar Sami fashion: a rubber deforming slapper from just inside the blueline. Columbus’ Jan Hejda was crazy enough to dive in front of it and the puck actually grazed the defender before hitting the left post and eluding Mason.

While the Canucks game wasn’t expected to provide as much action as the 2010 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies, the visitors ensured there were a few fireworks by completing another comeback win.

The Canucks are now 7-14-1 when trailing after two periods, a trend, like giving up the opening goal, that is exciting now and again, but needs to become less frequent.

Vancouver, conversely, is an imposing 24-1-0 when carrying a lead into the third period.

Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson on the confidence his team displayed in coming back to win yet again and his fourth game-winning goal of the season, a true oddball score:

“We said before the third that we had played a really good game through two periods so we obviously we needed to win the third to win and we did. It’s confidence for sure. It’s tough and especially playing back-to-back, they scored on their very first shift, so we’d like to come up with a better start.

”That’s one of the weirdest goals I’ve scored in my career, but I don’t really care, it’s a game-winner and we won.”

Whoa, they’re halfway there – almost.

The Canucks have one game remaining before the Olympic break, a Sunday matinee against the Minnesota Wild, a heated division rival that picked up steadfast defender Cam Barker from the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Sunday's game serves as the halfway point for the Canucks on their NHL record 14-game road trip.

NUMB3RS

1 - Goal for Nolan Baumgartner, his first score in four years (43 games).

10 - Different Canucks had a point each.

32 - Saves for Andrew Raycroft, 19 in the third frame.

100 - Career wins for Raycroft.

200 - All-time wins for the Canucks when Daniel and Henrik both record a point (200-63-26).

OFFENCE

The Canucks got contributions from three lines, while seven forwards and three defencemen picked up points in another balanced effort offensively.

Vancouver and Columbus were even in shots at 35-35.

DEFENCE

Vancouver was sloppy early as both Andrew Raycroft and his blueliners allowed a pair of easy goals, but the unit responded to finish the game strong in Rayzor's 100th career win.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Canucks were 1-for-5 on the power play for the third straight game; the Blue Jackets went 0-for-2 on the man advantage.

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