Sunday, January 18, 2009

Canucks Earn Point in Wild Shoot Out vs Columbus

Nobody was expecting the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets to combine for more than ten goals at GM Place Sunday night. However that was the case as the visitors skated away with a 6-5 shoot-out victory, giving them their third straight win against the Canucks this season.

The home team was able to build up a 3-1 lead just past the midway point of the game. Taylor Pyatt snapped out of a 12-game goal-scoring streak by snapping home a shot past Steve Mason 6:43 into the first period. It was Pyatt's 5th of the season, but that didn't keep the Canucks in the lead for long as Manny Malhotra finished off a beautiful passing play by converting a snap shot past Roberto Luongo. It extended his consectutive point-scoring streak to five straight games and it proved to be his 6th of the year at 10:27.

Early in the middle frame, Mats Sundin scored on a fantastic forehand-to-backhand move for his 2nd as a Canuck. Then Steve Bernier scored on a short-side chance after taking a nice pass off the end boards from Ryan Kesler. Bernier now has 11 on the year and it had the Canucks in a comfortable advantage heading towards the intermission break.

The Blue Jackets had other ideas though. With under three minutes to play and while on a power play, Jason Williams one-timed a shot from the left face off circle for his 8th of the year. Then with just over a minute remaining, captain Rick Nash was able to get free from behind the net and beat Luongo on a partial wrap-around for his team-leading 18th of the campaign.

On the opening shift of the final period, Luongo wound up losing his stick in a goal mouth scramble. Just as Jannik Hansen was attempting to get the stick back to his netminder, Mike Commodore wound up driving home a shot from the slot. It was his 4th of the season and it gave the Jackets their first lead of the night. And it wouldn't take long for them to build on the lead as less than a minute later, Raffi Torres was able to slid in a shot from beside the crease for just his 2nd of the year.

After that goal, Alain Vigneault called a time out in an attempt to settle his club down. A few minutes later, the Canucks were able to go to work on a power play and would capitalize. Henrik Sedin stepped into a shot from the right face off dot that found its way past Mason. Henrik's 8th of the year came at 4:37.

Then Vancouver got the equalizer they were hoping for a few minutes afterwards. Kevin Bieksa's point shot was sailing wide of the target, but it wound up bouncing off of Nash and into the net. Bieksa, who hadn't scored in 19 games, tallied his 6th of the seaosn at 6:07.

Neither club was able to score again in the third period or in overtime. For the seventh time this season, the Canucks took part in a shoot-out and for the sixth time this season, they weren't able to earn the extra point that was up for grabs. Kyle Wellwood and Sundin failed to convert on their opportunities while Williams and Nash scored on theirs. It gave the Blue Jackets their 8th win in their last 11 games, while it saw the Canucks winless streak on home ice stretch to seven straight games.

The Canucks did out-shot Columbus 30-28 in this game. Vancouver finished the night going 1-for-4 on the power play while the Blue Jackets went 1-for-2.

Now with an overall record of 22-19-6, the Canucks will travel to San Jose to play their Sharks for their last game prior to the All Star break. Game time Tuesday night at HP Pavillion is 7:30pm PST.

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