Columbus traveled to Vancouver Sunday afternoon to face the Canucks in the final game of their western Canada road trip. A win would give the Jackets a clean sweep of the trip for only the second time in franchise history, would tie a franchise record with nine straight victories, and would give Torts his 500th career win, making him the first American born NHL coach to hit that mark. Could the team hit the milestones? Let’s find out.
Well ... let’s just skip this one. Nothing really happened outside of one of the Sedin brothers having a chance go right through Sergei Bobrovsky’s legs and miss wide of the net. It may have been the most boring period of hockey I’ve watched this team play all season long. Both teams seemed out of it with the early start.
Action! Suspense! The worst lead in hockey!
Columbus opened the scoring early in the second period behind Cam Atkinson on the power play. Zach Werenski let a shot fly that was blocked by Ryan Miller right to a waiting Cam Atkinson, who wasted no time burying the rebound into a gaping net.
Later in the period, the league leading power play struck again, but this time it was the second unit. Scott Hartnell gathered the puck in front of the net, and slid a pass backward between his legs to Brandon Saad who buried it into a wide open net. Same old song and dance thus far, and Columbus was in complete control.
Naturally, they couldn’t make it easy. As the period came to a close, Columbus began a parade to the penalty box that saw Seth Jones go off once and Ryan Murray go off twice in 5 minutes.
Of course, given all of these chances, Vancouver was bound to cash in eventually. And they did, with Brandon Sutter cutting the deficit to 2-1. Moments later, Daniel Sedin tied the game on a fluke bounce off of Jack Johnson’s skate that beat Bobrovsky. Daniel Sedin has notched 16-33-49 against the Jackets in his career with that goal.
Brandon Saad looked to end the game with a goal with 4:40 remaining. Foligno to Wennberg to Saad to the back of the net when they had to have it. The first line is always there with critical goals when this team needs them, and what an excellent feed to find Saad. Wennberg, despite not scoring a lot of goals, has some of the best vision on the team.
Because nothing worth having comes easy, the Canucks tied the game with 1:09. These are the first three goals Columbus has given up in the third period in the month of December. The goal hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced in, but the all count. To overtime we go.
Seth Jones joined a rush late, received a perfect feed from Cam Atkinson, and buried the winning goal behind Ryan Miller.
Columbus Blue Jackets 4 Vancouver Canucks 3
THOUGHTS AND THINGS
500 wins for Torts is pretty dang special. I bet it tasted extra sweet coming against his former team where things didn’t quite work out.
9 straight wins for the team, tying a franchise record. They have a chance to break that record Tuesday night at home against the LA Kings and some guy named Jeff Carter.
Ryan Murray had an off day today. I maintain that this does not mean he should be a whipping boy, be dumped on, or be exposed in the expansion draft.
Columbus maintains their ridiculous pace, currently sitting at 20-5-4 on the season.