Canucks outshoot host Blue Jackets
The Sports Xchange
|Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler (2nd R), Roberto Luongo (R), Zack Kassian (9) and Dan Hamhuis celebrate after their 2-1 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in their NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio March 12, 2013. (REUTERS)
COLUMBUS - So Sergei Bobrovsky is beatable, but it took the Vancouver Canucks a shootout to prove it.
Vancouver’s Mason Raymond scored a nifty shootout goal in the second round — the only shooter for either club to score — and the Canucks emerged with a 2-1 shootout win in Nationwide Arena.
“We were doing a lot of the right things for most of the game, and that’s all you can ask and all you can do,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “They have a guy on their end (Bobrovsky) who is seeing everything right now, and we were still capable of bringing it to OT and getting it a shootout.
Jason Garrison scored in regulation for the Canucks, while goaltender Roberto Luongo had 26 saves. He stopped Columbus’ Ryan Johansen, Matt Calvert and Mark Letestu in the shootout.
The Letestu stop was easy for Luongo, because he was prepared.
”I was happy to see the third shooter was Letestu,“ Luongo said. ”I was especially happy that he made his move that I scouted. For once it worked and I was able to get right on top of him when he went to the forehand.“
Bobrovsky continued his stellar play for the Blue Jackets. He had 37 saves, allowing only Garrison’s score late in the second. He’s now stopped 161 of 168 shots (.958) in his last six outings, and the loss snapped a five-game winning streak.
Raymond gave him little chance with his shootout move. Raymond spun as he neared Bobrovsky, then put on the brakes and appeared to let his forward momentum stop. He then backhanded the puck into an abandoned net off his backhand, as Bobrovsky scrambled to recover.
”We weren’t very good in the first two periods, and we left it all up to Bob,“ Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen said. ”This point is all because of him. It’s 100 percent because of him.“
Letestu scored the only regulation goal for Columbus, which has charged from 30th place just two weeks ago to within sniffing distance of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
Despite the loss, it marked the eighth straight game in which Columbus has earned a point, matching a franchise record set during the inaugural season of 2000-01.
Vancouver, meanwhile, is just 2-4-2 in its last eight games.
The Blue Jackets survived a scare in the final minute of regulation, when Bobrovsky went down in a heap after Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin got his stickblade caught in Bobrovsky’s mask after a play at the net.
Trainers appeared to be checking Bobrovsky’s left eye, but he remained in the game.
After a scoreless first period, the Blue Jackets struck early in the second.
Letestu fired on Luongo from the right circle, then followed his own shot to the net and poked the rebound over Luongo’s right pad to make it 1-0. It was Letestu’s first goal in 14 games.
Vancouver pulled even late in the second, when Garrison scored on a slap shot through traffic from the left point. Bobrovsky didn’t appear to see the shot until it was too late.
The game was noticeably more physical than when these two teams met in Nationwide Arena exactly one week earlier, a 2-1 overtime win by Columbus.
Vancouver set the tone early, when forward David Booth flattened Blue Jackets winger Matt Calvert only six minutes into the game. Calvert left briefly to get stitches, but returned before the period had finished.
The Jackets returned fire, though.
Canucks defenseman Cam Barker absorbed a huge check along the boards in the second period from Columbus winger Jared Boll, who appeared to clip Barker’s chin and neck with his right arm on impact. No penalty was called and Barker remained in the game.
NOTES: Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a sprained ligament in his left knee. But center Derek MacKenzie was scratched because of an upper-body injury.