Walloping the Columbus Blue Jackets really shouldn’t be a cause for celebration. After all, these aren’t last year’s Blue Jackets — these are every other year’s Blue Jackets. But after Tuesday’s loss to the hapless Florida Panthers, who looked like a team with an abundance of haps compared to the suddenly inept Canucks, some fans were left wondering if Vancouver was going to win (or even just score a few goals) ever again.
Fortunately, where the Panthers surprised the Canucks by their unending efforts to win the game — weird, that — the Blue Jackets these days appear more committed to helping other teams find their grooves. They’re the Winston Shakespeare of teams. On Tuesday night, they gave up seven goals during a visit to the Edmonton Oilers, a team that recently went three home games without scoring a goal. And on Friday night, they were once again the angel of a Western Canadian fanbase, allowing 3 goals to the Canucks — Vancouver’s total offence in the last three games combined — in a 2:10 stretch of the second period.
Thank you, Columbus. For the first time since this ill-fated homestand began, thanks to you, I can happily say I watched this game.
Canucks 6 – 2 Blue Jackets
- We really should have known the Canucks were back when they surrendered the game’s first goal on the Blue Jackets’ first shot for, I believe, the billionth time this season. That’s what they were doing back when they were winning, after all. Sometimes you have to simplify your game and go back to what’s been working.
- Zack Kassian was the goat on Matt Calvert’s opening goal. He made a terrible choice at the Columbus blueline, turning the puck over, then an even worse choice at the Vancouver blueline, taking himself out of the backcheck with a miserable hit attempt. Now, I don’t mean that Kassian was a literal goat. He was more of a figurative goat, in the sense that he stank up the joint like a goat or a product made from goats. But he did resemble a literal goat on the play, in the sense that, in that moment, he looked completely incapable of backchecking properly, as a goat would. Goats are terrible at hockey. They also go to Hell.
- The first twenty minutes of this one resembled most of the last 300 minutes of Canucks hockey, with the team shooting lots of puck on goal and shooting few pucks in goal. The Canucks dominated the first, outshooting Columbus 14-4 and out-attempting them 30-6. Alex Edler alone had six shot attempts. But they still came less than a minute away from heading into the first intermission down 1-0. They looked more snake-bitten than this guy.
- The Canucks took the lead in the second thanks to Zack Kassian, who beat Bobrovsky with a shot off the rush that probably shouldn’t have gone in. But Bobrovsky let it squeak under his arm in a moment of redemption for Kassian that was up there with Cinderella being visited by her fairy godmother. I half expected Bobrovsky to break into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo and outfit Kassian with a pair of glass hockey skates.
- But that goal didn’t just save Kassian’s night: it seemed to wake up the whole team. A minute and a half later, Henrik Sedin made it 3-1 for the Canucks. But it was really more of an assist, as he really just gave the puck to Bobrovsky, only to see the Columbus netminder kick it in. That Henrik. So unselfish. Always looking to set people up.
- Twelve seconds after that, Alex Edler beat Bobrovsky with a blast from the point. It was the best blast since Blast from the Past, a very underrated romantic comedy starring Alicia Silverstone and Brendan Fraser. I’m going to assume Bobrovsky never saw either blast. Chances are the Columbus coaching staff is going to make him watch the Edler one. But he should watch the Brendan Fraser one after. It’s very sweet.
- Having rediscovered their love of scoring, the Canucks came out in the third and did it a bunch more times, because by then, it was super easy. How easy? Henrik Sedin scored the fifth goal, his second of the night, by tipping a Daniel Sedin slapshot from the point. Fact: When the Sedins have decided to forgo fancy plays for slappers from the point, you are terrible.
- Heck, so freely were the goals flowing that the Canucks closed out the win by getting one for Jeremy Welsh. It was the first of his career. After the game, he was interviewed by Dan Murphy wearing a really cool woven Haida hat, which appears to be the Canucks’ new “player of the game” apparel. We approve of the switch, although it was disappointing to see it described on Twitter as a lamp shade. You guys. That’s definitely not what it is.
- Six goals matches the Canucks’ total goal output from the losing streak that preceded this game. Cleveland rocks? More like Columbus rocks. Ohio!
- A first career goal will get you the player of the game hat, but if you’re asking me, the guy that really deserved it was Ryan Stanton. Three assists for the defenceman on this night in a super-reliable 16 minutes of icetime. He also starred in my favourite moment of the night, when he lost his stick in the defensive zone. As he circled around to pick it up, Alex Burrows flew by and, using his own stick, flicked the lumber up off the ice and into Stanton’s hands. Very cool.
- Speaking of Burrows, sadly, while everyone was scoring, poor Burr remains goalless. He had his chances in this one, but no dice. While everyone else was celebrating the bumped slump, he slipped quietly out the back door and walked home singing “I Have Nothing“.