Three nights ago the Jackets were burned by a goal just nine seconds into the game, and tonight the Jackets again let their opponent walk in on Sergei Bobrovsky off the opening faceoff. This time however, Bob stood tall.
The referees set the tone early, giving Scott Hartnell a boarding call 3:16 into the game. Hartnell's hit on Chris Tanev was anything but boarding, but I suppose the fact Tanev was contacted in his numbers was enough justification for the call in the official's eyes...
...or maybe the refs knew they were a bit too quick with the whistle, when 23 seconds later Kevin Bieksa was called for interference, another somewhat cheesy call. I'll say it- it was a makeup call. No damage was done by either team while up a man or four-on-four.
Hartnell was excellent in the first period. He was dangerous around Vancouver starter Ryan Miller, and was banging bodies and setting the physical tone for this teammates. Linemate Ryan Johansen had an extra gear as well, pulling off dangle after dangle. The BC boy always seems to ramp things up against the Canucks.
Bob was dialed in, pulling off a late kick save and following that up with a big save off the rebound. Since returning from injury he's been just OK, but his play in the first period was classic Bob.
Early in the period Brian Gibbons showcased his speed, flying up-ice to win a board battle, before setting up Jack Skille on the opposite wing for a one-timer. Though Skille's shot was stopped by Miller, it was exciting to see true, blazing NHL speed in action.
There have been very few games this season where the team as a whole played well defensively, but the defensive play through the first two periods was rock solid. Forwards were supporting the defense, and the skaters were letting Bob see the puck. If this continues, the rest of the game will sort itself out for the Jackets and they have a chance at turning things around.
A funny moment happened midway through the period, when former Jacket Derek Dorsett launched himself ass-over-tea-kettle into the Columbus bench as he tried to torpedo Gibbons. Oh, Dorse.
Bieksa was whistled for his second penalty of the game at the 11:42 mark, when he was called for interference. It was another borderline call, but the Jackets certainly didn't complain. That said, the CBJ did not look smooth while up a man, allowing the Canucks to easily kill the penalty.
The play in the second period was completely back-and-forth, as evident by the tightly interwoven lines on the possession chart (linked to at the bottom of this preview).
After a TV timeout late in the period, the Canucks broke the goose egg. Chris Higgins wired a shot almost from the goal line to Bob's right, beating him between his body and the post. This was a goal that Bob wants back.
1-0 Canucks: Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa
Going into the final frame the Jackets were very much in the game, but the wheels started to fall off quickly. Less than a minute into the third period, the Canucks' lethal top line came together to give the Canucks a two-goal lead. Radim Vrbata, who's fit in perfectly alongside the Sedins, placed a perfect back-pass from behind the net to a waiting Henrik.
2-0 Canucks: Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata, Daniel Sedin
The Jackets had a prime opportunity to cut the lead in half at the 3:38 mark, when Alexander Edler was sent to the box for interference. Though the Jackets have one of the league's top powerplays, they could get nothing going tonight, despite good movement. The Canucks did an excellent job of preventing anything from getting through to the net.
Part two of the "Dorse being Dorse" comedy hour came midway through the period when Jack Johnson bumped into him, and was called for interference. You'd think that Dorse was tasered with the way he absolutely flew up, up and away from Jack after they came together. Nick Foligno had a great shorthanded chance, but the play was broken up by Bieksa.
The Vancouver lead was increased to three goals off the stick of Shawn Matthias, who received a stretch pass as he split the defense pairing of James Wisniewski and Tim Erixon.
3-0 Canucks: Shawn Matthias - Brad Richarson, Yannick Weber
About three minutes later, Columbus coach Todd Richards gambled and lost by pulling Bob with more than five minutes left. The Jackets had an offensive zone faceoff, but the Canucks were able to gain possession and score an empty-netter. He'll have to answer for that decision, but he really had nothing to lose by putting an extra man out there for an O-zone faceoff while down three goals.
4-0 Canucks: Brad Richardson - Nick Bonino
The rout was completed with 2:34 left when Alexandre Burrows beat Bob with a sneaky wrister.
5-0 Canucks: Alexandre Burrows - Chris iggins, Nick Bonino
FINAL SCORE: 5-0 Canucks
- Ryan Miller made it look easy tonight, earning the shutout despite 31 Columbus shots.
- Scott Hartnell was effective.
- Ryan Johansen was effective.
- Nick Foligno was effective.
- The trio of Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert was a combined -9.
- Bob was strong in stretches, but gave up some terrible goals. Let's just leave it at that.
- The effort was there, the shots were there, but the Jackets again find themselves upside down in the goal differential department.