Vancouver Canucks vs Columbus Blue Jackets Post Game Recap: Gutting One Out Versus The Gunners

The Rundown

The Vancouver Canucks came into tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on a 2 game win streak. Fun fact, the team had scored the first goal in their previous 5 games, and the boys looked to do that again to get in front of a Columbus team with lots of firepower.

Jakob Markstrom started in net tonight, and attempted to win his 3rd straight decision.


1st Period

Well, the Canucks failed to score the first goal in this game. It only took 46 seconds, but Columbus jumped out to the early lead when a Seth Jones point shot went off Jay Beagle’s foot and in.

The Canucks couldn’t seem to get anything going, and were hemmed in their own zone by the home team for the next 4 minutes. The terrible start for Vancouver saw them record their first shot on goal around the 8 minute mark off a Roussel dump in.

The boys got their act together in the second half of the period, but nearly saw themselves down by 2 after a weird bounce off the boards came right to Artemi Panarin. Markstrom was there, and made a big stop to keep the Canucks in the game 11:30 minutes into the period.

Bo Horvat got the best chance of the period for Vancouver at the 14:30 minutes in. Horvat intercepted a Boone Jenner pass right in the slot, but shot the puck right into the chest of Joonas Korpisalo.


Markstrom made another great save 16:30 minutes in, as David Savard came in and put a backhand shot off the outstretched pad of the Canucks netminder.

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A minute later and Markstrom got the blocker on a Brandon Dubinsky chance which stemmed off a Brock Boeser turnover. Good couple minutes for Markstrom kept the Canucks at a 1 goal deficit, which is how they ended the first period. The Canucks looked flat, and needed to up their tempo if they wanted to get back into this hockey game.


2nd Period

It took 4 minutes before either team mustered a quality scoring chance in the middle frame, but Columbus’ Jenner found himself in on a breakaway after Erik Gudbranson blew a tire at centre ice. Luckily for Gudbranson, Markstrom was able to stretch out the right pad to stone Jenner, and Ben Hutton made a nice play on Cam Atkinson to snuff out any rebound chance that might’ve followed.

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The Canucks responded just a minute later with a chance of their own. Tyler Motte used his great speed to race around Zach Werenski and gave himself a breakaway. Werenski was forced to haul him down, which gave the Canucks their first power-play of the night and a chance to either tie the game or give themselves some momentum. The power-play had one great look, when Bo Horvat was all alone in front, but they couldn’t beat Korpisalo and the game remained 1-0 Columbus.

The Blue Jackets found a way to ramp up their level of play around the halfway mark of the frame, and they used their newfound pace to force the Canucks to take a penalty. After a strong cycle by Columbus, Troy Stecher tripped up Riley Nash, and the worst power-play at home in the league attempted to score a goal on a Canucks penalty kill which was perfect in their past 2 games (Baby steps). The Canucks killed off the penalty, but only a minute later saw themselves a man down again after Jenner rushed into the zone, and Josh Leivo was forced to hook him to the ice. Columbus went to their 2nd power-play as they tried to extend their lead.

However, it was Antoine Roussel for the short handed Canucks who got the best chance of the Columbus PP only 30 seconds in, but he couldn’t bury his mini breakaway as Korpisalo was able to get the pad on the shot.

Markstrom had to make 17 saves in the period, and the lifeless Canucks were fortunate to only head to the 3rd period down by 1. The team was absolutely dominated through 2 periods, and quite frankly didn’t look like they came ready to play tonight.


3rd Period

The Canucks were able to get a shot off before the 5 minute mark of the final frame, something they hadn’t done in the prior 2 periods, but didn’t generate much offensively as Columbus tried their hardest to grind out the 1 goal win.

All of a sudden, an early Christmas miracle for the boys in white. Elias Pettersson picked up the puck from the far boards and sent it to the point to Chris Tanev. Tanev shot the puck towards goal, and it was deflected by Leivo before it bounced off a Columbus defender and in. 1-1 game 8 minutes in.

It didn’t take long for Columbus to retake the lead. The Blue Jackets had a terrific response to the Canucks equalizer, and took it to the road team for 2 minutes before Oliver Bjorkstrand sniped one past Markstrom.

What followed the goal was another listless 5 minute stretch for the Canucks, who simply looked like they ran out of gas.

17 minutes into the period, and the Canucks struck gold again. Alex Edler shot the puck at the net from the point, and it was deflected by Leivo for a 2nd time this period, but this time it took a hop off another Canucks player and in. The Canuck who it went off of? None other than Pettersson for his 16th goal of the season. 2-2 game.

With just 1:46 remaining in the hockey game, the Canucks somehow took the lead. Jake Virtanen, who looked to had gotten the Canucks on the board earlier, came down the right wing and fired what looked to be a harmless shot towards the Columbus goal. However, Korpisalo cheated off his post just a tad and it went off his back and in… An awful goal allowed by Korpisalo, but the Canucks took it and it was a 3-2 game.

The Blue Jackets pressed and pressed in their attempt to tie the game up, but never found the goal they needed. The Canucks fought hard to win their 3rd straight game, 3-2 against the Blue Jackets.


Advanced Stats

Both photos courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

Wrap Up

This game was one of the worst performances I’ve seen from this team all year, yet they somehow found a way to pull this one out.

Markstrom played out of his mind, as the Canucks were greatly out-shot throughout the whole game but were always in it. This game was truly one of the best games a Canucks’ goaltender has played this season, because the team in front of him didn’t deserve the win tonight. However, the boys came through in the clutch and found ways to get it done. Great job by Markstrom, phenomenal performance tonight.

Nice to see Leivo with the multi-point effort as he received more opportunities to produce in the top 6. Showed some deft touch in front, and showed he could be a great net front presence on the Pettersson-Boeser line.

Pettersson was able to pull some late magic out of his ass to help the Canucks out when they needed him most. Just a star player that did what star players do. No biggie.

Virtanen’s game winning goal was a lesson to all youngsters out there to throw the puck on net, because you really never know what might happen.


Well, after they broke their lengthy losing streak against the Predators a week ago, they’re the next Canucks opponent, and the last opponent of the road trip.

  • kermit

    What a weird game. Petterssen’s 7 points in 2 games have been helped by a run of lucky bounces, but the fact that this is happening for him, and not for others, is because he’s so active in the offence. You get the feeling he could become the greatest Canuck ever.


    Let’s face it. The building blocks of the new Canucks are pretty darn great! It’s all front end with Bo/Brock/EP… but I ?!
    Last year I only watched to see the Sedins, Bo and Brock. This year Bo, Brock, And EP.
    Next year, Quinn, Olli and Thatcher will be the ones to watch as the backend improves. Everyone in Nucks-verse has a ” the sky is always falling” looking at you Botch.
    T.O! Sooooo talented… no D and Goaltending going forward the next generation.
    Canucks are balanced going into the next gen! Looking forward to the new West Coast Express!

    • LiborPolasek

      Ditto and in addition: without having a pick higher than fifth and no cap issue. The core is developing nicely and the games are competitive but still hoping for a high pick because I don’t think we are yet ready to compete with the likes of the Jets, Preds and etc in the playoffs. Once again to the GENUISES… trollolololol ???.

        • Canuck4Life20

          When Pettersson comes due for his massive second contract the Canucks have Eriksson, Beagle, and Roussell entering the final year of their deals and Horvat on the books for two more seasons. That’s it. Those four guys only add up to $17.5 mill total and I hope that you’re not calling Horvat a fourth liner. The cap will probably be at $90 mill by that point. Try actually taking a look at the numbers and you will see that there are no issues and they probably even have room for a big free agent signing.

        • TheRealPB

          Or to put it another way, they will have about 22% of their cap tied up in a fourth line and mid-bottom pairing (Eriksson, Beagle, Roussel, Sutter and Gudbranson) by 2021. Some contracts will have moved off the books by then and some surely (Boeser, maybe Baertschi and if all continues to trend upwards Virtanen and Hutton, maybe Markstrom) will get raises — most of them outside of Boeser not substantial. Horvat is signed to an incredibly good value contract. The only real clunker is the Eriksson deal. The real issue with over-spends on lower tier players is if you are top heavy with rich first line contracts. We are nowhere close to that. This of course assumes that Benning does make more boneheaded signings but the only signing that has been truly abysmal so far for him is Eriksson. Most of the rest have been either good value (Miller, Vanek) or short term overpays that terrible but don’t hamstring us in the long term (Schaller, MDZ, Gagner, even the resigning of Gudbranson and Sutter). If I’m Aquilini I probably don’t love the money management since there are real dollars at play but I think the other concerns are overblown

        • NucksLifer

          Wrong (as detailed in a comment yesterday). As of the summer of 2021, when the core is coming off their ELC’s, there will be virtually no salary on the books that is unproductive and unmovable. Guddy will be gone. Roussell and Beagle will have one year left and be relatively easy to move (Roussell) or buy out (Beagle) if they aren’t productive. Ericksson will have one year left and also easily bought out (if he’s not gone in the summer of 2019, when his contract is decent value 3 yrs at $3 million per).

          So, based on facts, the Canucks don’t project at this time to have cap issue. But please, keep hold of your (uninformed) opinion and just re-state it every day or two…

        • NucksLifer

          Apologies for the repetitive reply. I’m so fed up with this lazy and incorrect take on Benning’s cap management that I replied before reading the other cogent replies that made the same point.

  • Kootenaydude

    Columbus seemed like a really tough team to play against. They didn’t give the Canucks much space out there. I think it was a good experience for the young guys to face a team like Columbus. It’s not always going to be a wide open game. Overcoming adversity now, will help this team in the future. When we start To play real hockey…. playoff hockey!!

    • Rodeobill

      It was frustrating watching them constantly trying everything they could do and not be able to take the offensive zone. I dont think the Canucks played bad this game, I think Columbus was really good. They were probably hot off Torts marathon video session, and played an almost impenetrable system that kept us out of their zone all game. Good coaching, good system (if somewhat boring), and good defense. If Bobrovsky is in and on his game, there is no way we win this one, but it was nice to see them not give up and keep trying new things until they found a chink in the armor. This also left me feeling that if we had a really strong top 4 D, our rebuild would be done.

  • TheRealPB

    I cannot imagine how angry Torts was after that performance. The shutout against the Caps was bad enough but this? The Bluejackets completely dominated the game, though their first goal was also a completely lucky bounce, while two of the Canucks’ were pinball specials and the last was pure garbage. But hey, we’ve lost more than a few because of bad breaks (or MDZ) so we we were due. We probably still won’t make the playoffs due to the swoon but it is likely better for a group of developing young players to be competitive and have some success than to be trash the whole year.

    • Rodeobill

      I don’t think Torts would be mad at this one. Columbus won this game in every regard except the score. Its the ones where they are out of position, phoning it in, etc. that the coaches really hate. Who knows, though. He is kinda a hot head apparently. I think he is probably a good coach and really cares. He expects a lot from his players, but he gets a lot out of them too. He just wasn’t the right fit for the canucks at that time, but he wasn’t wrong with his stale core comments, it’s taken us this long to start sorting that out.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Sure you’d like the Canucks to make the play offs. Probably they won’t but ya hafta come on board with how fun this young team is to watch regardless. Kudos to Shotgun Jake for the superb winning goal who is looking now like one of the true building blocks on the VC, behind Bo, Brock and Petey of course. It can’t hurt having guys back from injuries either. A pleasing outcome.

      • Nation Fan

        Ya, seems like Bob has already tuned out Torts and checked out of Columbus, same as Patrick Roy did in Montreal under different circumstances. Would love to see the Vezina winner between the pipes in Vancity next season reunited with his old goalie coach.

        • Beer Can Boyd

          I wouldn’t. 30 years old and both his GAA and save % have been trending the wrong way for the last 3 years. And he’ll want a fortune. Exactly what we don’t need.

          • Nation Fan

            So you’re happy with the Nilsson/Markstrom tandem then. I see.

            30 isn’t old for a goalie, see MA Fleury who everyone thought was washed up or Tim Thomas who won a cup at age 37, remember him?

            Bobrovsky is an elite Vezina winning goalie wiith outstanding career numbers and he would be the perfect mentor for Demko. Bob is the man you need. Did you learn nothing from the acquisition of Luongo?

          • Beer Can Boyd

            What part of “Bob is trending downward at an alarming rate, is already 30,and will want a fortune and term” are you finding so hard to understand? We have 2 very promising young goalies in our system , and the last thing we need is another boat anchor contract.

        • TD

          Goalie Bob has not been dominant recently and has never been a star in the playoffs. I would rather see what Demko and DiPietro (eventually) can do than sign an aging inconsistent goalie to the length of contract he will want.

      • LiborPolasek

        The game could had gone either way. Even though Markstrom played superb for most of the game the second goal was somewhat a typical Markstrom goal meaning in my opinion I would call it a softie at an important part of the game. For a big goalie he has habit of playing small and not challenging the shooter(s) like a MA Fleury…

  • canuckfan

    If they have any hope of getting into the playoffs they are going to have to win the majority if not all of their divisional games which will be coming up soon. They played really good when the injuries first hit, but with the extra playing time the players who were relied upon just started getting exhausted and that is when the losing started. The team is starting to come together but the depth still needs to be added to and improved. Perhaps if no more injuries we could make the playoffs.

  • Locust

    Brock looks like he has his stride back. Lets hope he has no setbacks and can get back to top health and fitness.
    For those of you that never played, groin and hammy issues are killers for your skating. Skating at an NHL level that is.

        • Freud


          Locust is like Trump.

          Throwing out conspiracy theories (CA trolls it’s own message board).

          Ignores evidence and insists he’s right, just because, trust him, he knows more than you (Sutter is verrrry important).

          Is a massive hypocrite, while attacking the fake news (attacks douchebag CA writers because he doesn’t like the team to be criticized, insists his opinion is right and the facts are wrong)

          Thinks he’s smart by proclaiming basic knowledge (shot counts very between NHL rinks)

          Has a pathetic sense of self-aggrandizement (I played the game! lol).

      • Locust

        Fraud, congrats on the upvote last week. First of the year for you.
        Pheenster and all the other 6week rotation of CA sponsored trolls, I feel sorry for you that the only stimulation you get in life is being an anonymous troll. Reap what you sow, if CA had anyone with integrity, you wouldn’t be here.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Motte was great again last night. Particularly after the Bluejackets scored their second goal. Canucks were floundering in their own end, and Motte threw a huge hit on the boards, separated his man from the puck and cleared the zone to ease the pressure. Exactly what he is being asked to do.

    • NucksLifer

      I agree and I am most gratified that he is embarrassing those many jackasses that were so sure he was a terrible return for Vanek. Maybe, just maybe, Canucks management knows a bit more about hockey than the media pundits and basement-dwelling keyboard warriors. But we could have had a 4th round pick !!?!?!

    • Rodeobill

      He was more of a pest this game than usual too. I like seeing that side of him. Him and Rousell getting under the skin of the other team takes the politeness out of the match and raises the compete level and engagement. He is an all star checker and disrupter of plays, but he still needs to work on his offensive game a bit. Then he could be our new honeybadger.