Nick Foligno returned to the lineup, Dalton Prout made his way back into the lineup in Nikita Nikitin‘s spot, and the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled themselves up off the mat and landed a haymaker to the Vancouver Canucks to end a four game losing streak.
It was great to see Artem Anisimov get involved early in the game, when he raced to the puck, turned and abruptly fired one at the net, where Marian Gaborik and his sick mitts redirected Arty’s shot for the first goal just 3:27 into the game. We need Arty to get going if we want this offense to start getting better, his big body flying around making plays will drive this offense.
The play after the goal was sloppy on both sides of the ice, for both teams. Nothing looked crisp, and it led to only 1 more shot on goal for the Blue Jackets. The Canucks seemed to find a way to put the puck on net however, but Curtis McElhinney was up to the challenge and looked sharp and engaged into the game.
James Wisniewski still looked shaky with the puck in the first period. Good news is, after the first he seemed to settle in and played one of his better games.
CBJ 1 Canucks 0
If you were a Blue Jackets fan, the 2nd period was pretty uneventful, unless you enjoy hurling four letter words at the officials. Which I do! The goal that got the Canucks back into the game was borderline horse manure.
I watched Mark Letestu walk into a slap shot and wondered, where in the heck has Letestu been? He was the leading goal scorer for the Blue Jackets last year, and has been MIA so far this season. Let’s go Mark, I love cheering for you, and I want to start actually being able to this year.
The Blue Jackets kept the turnovers to a minimum tonight (insert Nikitin joke here), which was a welcome change. If they can continue to be smart with the puck, they can become a dangerous team again.
The rest of the period was a penalty fest, for which the Blue Jackets received almost a minute and a half of a 5 on 3 power play. They failed to capitalize, and it seems that good start to the season on the PP was a mirage. They just passed the puck and skipped shots, which should be their mantra on the power play.
CBJ 1 Canucks 1
McElhinney with the puck, like Bobrovsky with the puck, scare the living daylights out of me. They should both handle the puck as little as humanly possible, and stick to what they do best, stopping pucks in abundance.
The Blue Jackets started to look like they were trying to give this game away, not taking advantage of power plays or scoring chances. That is until Ryan Johansen received the puck, skated up ice and threaded the needle with a pass to R.J. Umberger and Umberger ripped the monkey off his back and beat Eddie Lack to register his first goal of the season. It was a beautiful play all around and proved to be the game winning goal.
McElhinney proceeded to stonewall the Canucks the rest of the way, including a beautiful save from point-blank range with a little under a minute left to go.
Johansen got rewarded for his amazing feed to Umberger, when Umberger fed RyJo the puck while the Canucks had an empty net, and buried the biscuit to put any doubts to rest.
Final Score CBJ 3 Canucks 1
A great team effort all around, it’s crazy what a full 60 minutes of work will get you, A WIN! The home crowd seemed to energize the Blue Jackets early on, and they stayed rocking throughout the night. Let’s hope this is the start of something great, and the team can build off this effort.
- Curtis McElhinney: It’s nice to be able to have a quality backup come in the game and be able to get us a win, was also aided by entire team effort, but amazing job. 38 of 39 shots stopped, only actual goal, was suspect when he was pushed into the net by Vancouver.
- R.J. Umberger: Got that no goal monkey off his back, and hopefully it will kick start his season. Added an assist on that Johansen empty netter as well, +2 for the night.
- Ryan Johansen: Silky smooth pass between two defenders to Umby was the play that the Blue Jackets needed. Added the empty netter to effectively end the game, +2 for the night as well.
- Dalton Prout: Had an assist, three blocked shots and ended up being +2 on the night. After 3 straight healthy scratches, great to see him get back on the ice and not miss a beat.
- The Officials: One word, one syllable…BAD!
- I got nothing else for this category, great all around, team effort! Kept the turnovers to a minimum, and shut down a pretty good offensive team, in front of their backup goalie, making his first start of the year.