Blue Jackets rally past Canucks, gain in wild card
Come back from down two in third period, move into tie for first spot in Eastby Craig Merz / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
COLUMBUS -- Emil Bemstrom scored the go-ahead goal on the power play with 1:37 remaining when the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied from down two in the third period to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.
Zach Werenski, Riley Nash and Kevin Stenlund each had a goal and an assist for Columbus (32-21-14), which won for the second time in 12 games (2-5-5) and moved into a tie with the New York Islanders for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"After the second period, we somehow found another gear," said Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who made 36 saves. "This locker room never quits."
[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Blue Jackets highlights]
Werenski tied the game 3-3 when he scored on the power play for his 20th goal at 15:06 of the third after Nash got Columbus within one 2:27 earlier.
"The momentum started coming our way," Werenski said. "We made some plays at the right moment. That's what you need for a comeback win like that."
Video: VAN@CBJ: Nash roofs shot home from bottom of circle
J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson each had a goal and two assists for the Canucks (34-25-6), who have lost three straight games and leads the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes by two points for the first wild card in the Western Conference. Vancouver trails the Calgary Flames by one point for third place in the Pacific Division.
"We've got to find a way to finish it off," Canucks center Brandon Sutter said. "To play like we did for 50 minutes, there's no way we lose that game. Not even close."
Louis Domingue made 30 saves in his Vancouver debut after being acquired in a trade from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 24.
"It's frustrating," he said. "I had to be there at the end, and I couldn't come up with the last saves. I felt like I didn't do my job.
"It's not shocking. I've seen the Blue Jackets do that before. It's on us when a team pushes."
Bo Horvat gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead when he redirected a Pettersson shot on the power play 1:00 into the game.
Pettersson made it 2-0 at 7:08 when he tipped a Tyler Myers shot.
Stenlund scored to make it 2-1 at 10:01 after Nash passed the rebound of a Markus Nutivaara shot across the goal mouth to him.
Miller, in his 500th NHL game, made it 3-1 at 1:12 of the second period with a one-timer from the top of the left face-off circle off a pass from Pettersson.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said he contemplated pulling Korpisalo after the Miller goal.
"I thought he battled the second half of the game when it was 3-1," Tortorella said. "The most important note of the game is we kept it 3-1."
Nash made it 3-2 at 12:39 of the third when he scored from the bottom of the right circle off a cross-ice pass from defenseman Ryan Murray, who returned after missing 34 games with a lower-body injury.
Werenski's tying goal came on the first power play of the game for Columbus, and Bennstrom scored the winner 3:17 later during their second opportunity.
"I'm feeling for our guys in the room right now," Vancouver coach Travis Green said. "A pretty good road game. Tough game.
"We were managing the game real well, then they get the two power plays. We didn't do the job on the PK."
Gustav Nyquist scored into an empty net with 11 seconds left for the 5-3 final.
Video: VAN@CBJ: Werenski hammers one-timer home for PPG
They said it
"We needed the win tonight. Even though we played a good game, still part of playing a good game is finding a way to win and closing teams out, and obviously we weren't able to do so." -- Canucks forward J.T. Miller
"We still have some struggles as far as our energy, as far as our coverages and all that, but to win a game before we go on a trip and the way we did it, hopefully we'll get some energy off it." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
Need to know
Canucks forward Jay Beagle was scratched with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced in the lineup by forward Zack MacEwen, who had one shot on goal and one blocked shot in 9:08. ... Myers played his 700th NHL game. ... Werenski leads NHL defensemen in goals. He is the first defenseman in Blue Jackets history to score 20 in a season. ... Columbus forward Nathan Gerbe will be out up to two weeks with a groin strain. Forward Ryan MacInnis took his place in the lineup and had one shot on goal and one hit in 9:16. ... The Blue Jackets have allowed at least three goals in 10 straight games (38 total) after allowing 15 in their previous 12. Defenseman Seth Jones (fractured ankle) has missed the past 11 games. ... It was the first win in regulation for Columbus since Feb. 7 (2-0 against the Detroit Red Wings).
Canucks: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNP, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)
Blue Jackets: At the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-O, NHL.TV)