CANUCKS (18-9-6) 1, BLUE JACKETS (13-13-7) 0 - SHOOTOUT
ROGERS ARENA | VANCOUVER, BC
Sergei Bobrovsky almost single-handedly willed the Blue Jackets to the most unlikely of victories tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, but one shootout goal was the difference in a rather tame affair.
For most of the game, it was the Blue Jackets who had to stave off the Canucks, who kept coming shift after shift and spent a lot of time inside the Columbus end of the rink. It was an old-fashioned, tight-checking game and it was evident that the points were precious; both teams are in their respective races for the postseason and by getting to overtime, the Blue Jackets (33 points) were able to climb within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
But as Matt Calvert said post-game, it wasn't the Jackets' best effort tonight and it eventually cost them the additional point in the standings.
Vancouver took the first 11 shots on goal before the 10-minute mark of the opening period and held a 13-2 shots edge after 20 minutes, but Bobrovsky rebounded in spectacular fashion to keep his team squarely in the mix. The Canucks followed up their dominant first period with a so-so second period but the Blue Jackets had the better of the play in the third period and overtime, and had a glorious opportunity in sudden death.
Ryan Johansen - playing in his hometown and in front of several friends and family members - took advantage of a Canucks miscue and centered a sweet feed to Nick Foligno across the crease, but Dan Hamhuis sprawled to make a game-saving stop with his left skate.
In the shootout, the only goal came from the stick of Max Lapierre, who made a slick deke to his backhand and roofed it over Bobrovsky in the third round.
Aside from the shootout, there weren't many momentum-changing moments in the game - but one stands out, and it was a big stop by Bobrovsky that gave the Blue Jackets second wind headed to the shootout. Nikita Nikitin fumbled the puck at the offensive blue line and it sent Jannik Hansen in home-free, but his forehand deke move was sniffed out by Bobrovsky's lunging left pad in the final 30 seconds of overtime.
- Full credit to the Blue Jackets for a terrific defensive effort against one of the NHL's most potent offenses: in three meetings with the Canucks this season, Vancouver totaled just two goals. Those came in a 2-1 OT win for the Jackets on Mar. 7 (Henrik Sedin) and five days later the Canucks' shootout win.
- Bobrovsky was strong, making 34 saves to record his third career shutout -- his third in the last nine games.
- The Blue Jackets' defense really stepped up in the third period and helped get the puck moving north, which allowed for some offensive zone chances (especially in overtime). Dalton Prout stood out in his pairing with Nikitin, and John Moore skated the puck out of trouble on several occasions.
- Foligno and Matt Calvert were two of the Jackets' most dangerous forwards in the game, and they helped lead the charge in the third/OT. Both had a handful of really good looks.
at Edmonton Oilers
Rexall Place | Edmonton, AB
Thursday, 9 p.m.