The Shootout Loss
Well that was ugly.
Riding high off four straight wins, the Vancouver Canucks hit a roadblock Tuesday in Columbus.
For the first time since David Booth et al went down, the Canucks finally played like they were as short at forward as they have been.
I can’t really think of anything Columbus did to control this game, Vancouver simply shot themselves in the foot.
Thankfully the Canucks will follow up this game with the last place team in the West with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the last place team in the East.
The Canucks only goal of the night came off a hard-working play by Chris Higgins. Beating Rick Nash to the puck, Higgins controlled it behind the net before throwing it out to Lapierre at the top of the crease to finally get the Canucks on the board and secure a point from this hot mess of a game.
Just think, if Gillis doesn’t make those duel deals at the deadline, the Canucks might have been shutout last night. By Columbus.
2. Bobby Lu
The other MVP for the Canucks last night was Roberto Luongo who had to make a number of key saves to keep the Canucks in this game. Against Columbus.
He made a couple saves of both Rick Nash and James Wisniewski but his highlight was the crucial save of Nash on a breakaway in the third.
Unfortunately, though he was the reason the Canucks earned one point he was also the reason they didn’t get two. He failed to stop a single skater in the shootout. Against Columbus.
Good news in this game was hard to find but post-game word began to spread that Andrew Ebbett would be available Thursday in Carolina. Having just lost Bill Sweatt to the expiration of his emergency recall, Ebbett’s return is big for the banged-up forward corps because…..
For yet another game, a defenceman was playing wing on the fourth line.
After Andrew Alberts failed to cover the point twice in Montreal, leading to two goals, it was Aaron Rome’s turn to play on the fourth line for a period before AV benched Alberts and put Rome with Ballard.
2. Bad Bad Bad
How bad are the Blue Jackets? Naming Curtis Sanford starter lit a fire under them and propelled them to 14th place.
So when Steve Mason got the start in this game, it was his first game since November 15th. Remember, he lost his starting job to Curtis Sanford.
And yet, if Mason hadn’t left the game briefly in the third with a leg cramp perfectly diagnosed by Dr. Garrett, he would have had the shutout in this one. He hasn’t had one of those since February.
And it’s not like he was tested.
Everything you need to know about this game happened in the first period.
It was an ugly 20 minutes for the Canucks that saw them outshot and more importantly outscored after the Canucks found themselves defending a 4-on-3 powerplay.
It was so bad that even the Canucks were admitting it. Keith Ballard said after the game that they could have won if they were less terrible in the first.
Jannik Hansen felt the team was a step behind and credited Luongo for keeping it close.
Canuck fans meanwhile should have seen the first as a warning and escaped.
Still, 9-1-1 in their last 10.
Just please please don’t play like this against the Leafs on Saturday.