You have to consider this a successful weekend for the Canucks. Coming into the two-game set with stops in Pittsburgh and Columbus, the boys in blue had something to prove. Sure, they were a decent 5-3 in their first eight, but according to negative nellies that make up a sizeable portion of this fanbase, that record was misleading. The Canucks were only beating bad teams. The Devils, the Flames, the Sabres. Teams you’re supposed to beat. Against the good teams, however, they couldn’t hang.
Good luck saying that now. A day after hanging with the Penguins, a good team, the Canucks lost to the Blue Jackets — a bad team. Your argument is finished, Vancouver. It’s done. I waved goodbye to it when I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 3 Blue Jackets
- Sunday’s game looked very familiar to me, and it wasn’t just the way the Canucks dominated play for all three periods, controlled possession, outshot their opponents, and basically did the sorts of good things that usually win you hockey games, only to lose because they couldn’t capitalize on their chances and pull away. I just watched my PVR recording of Saturday’s game by accident.
- For real though, this was another strong outing by the Canucks. They probably deserved a better fate. Unfortunately, they couldn’t beat Curtis McIlhinney more than once, and now they have to leave town knowing they were bested by someone named Curtis. Embarrassing.
- Back in Buffalo, the Canucks seized control from the opening puck drop, but took forever to open to scoring. It looked like we might see that again tonight, but after three dangerous-looking shots on goal that failed to get past McIlhinney in the first three and a half minutes, the Blue Jackets took the puck down the other way and beat Eddie Lack on their first shot. It was the most disappointing first shot since George Lucas rewrote the Greedo scene.
- The Canucks tied the game on a powerplay in the second. After Daniel Sedin fed Ryan Kesler, who was grinding on James Wisniewski like Miley on Robin Thicke, Kesler backhanded the puck to the goalmouth. At this point, the Canucks started jammin’ like Bob Marley, and it mellowed out the officials so much they didn’t even bother to blow the whistle until the puck was in.
- Henrik Sedin got credit for the goal, but you just know he was trying to pass it to Daniel. It’s all he wants to do. If Henrik was on a Price is Right Showcase Showdown, he would never bid on the first showcase. He has to pass. At one point late in the game, he was on the ice without Daniel, so he passed it to the only Sedin around — himself — by banking the puck off the back of the net.
- Chris Higgins had a strong game, finishing with 5 shots on goal, the most of any Canuck forward. Unfortunately, he was also partially to blame on the Blue Jackets’ game-winner. Racing back to turn a Columbus 2-on-1 into a 2-on-2, Higgins arrived on the scene, then assumed the job was done and immediately lost his check — R.J. Umberger, the goal scorer. Good thing he didn’t follow his dad, Bobby, into firefighting. You have to do more than just get there and say, “Yep, that’s a fire.” Unless you’re driving the fire SUV.
- The Canucks killed off a 5-on-3 penalty in the second period, and they really shouldn’t have had to. Both penalties came on puck over the glass infractions. First Mike Santorelli sad it. Then Alex Edler did it, but he somehow managed to put the puck over the glass behind the Columbus goal. From inside the Vancouver blueline. Yeah. Listen, Alex, I understand Santorelli appears to be John Tortorella’s favourite right now, but there are probably better ways to show him up.
- Tom Sestito had a moment in this game where he carried the puck into the Columbus end, then slowed up and tried to hit the trailer with a swivelling backpass. It’s a play we see Henrik Sedin make several times a game and it always seems to work. It did not work for Sestito — the puck sailed harmlessly into the corner, where the Blue Jackets collected it and started back the other way. Adorable. Tom Sestito thinks he’s people. Like this bear playing tetherball.
- Expect to hear a lot about how Columbus outhit Vancouver by a wide margin tonight, and when you do, remind yourself that hitting is something you do more when you have the puck less. Then just go to your quiet place. Mine is this bear playing tetherball.
- Tough to pin this loss on Eddie Lack, who had another quality start for the Canucks, and just didn’t get the support. Support is key, both in goaltending and in avoiding back pain later in life. That was a joke for PITB’s burgeoning female demographic. Hello, ladies. Hi. Do you like tetherball? Do you like bears? Because if so, have I got a video for you.