Instant Reaction: Canucks run out of gas, pick up a point in 4-3 shootout loss to Blue Jackets

Photo credit:© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
6 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! 
Coming into today’s game, there were plenty of questions facing the Canucks.
Given their travel woes over the past 48 hours, how much energy could they possibly have? The team arrived in Columbus late last night after driving from Columbus to Toronto and then flying out of Toronto.
Not only that, but this was already the last game of a long eastern road trip. It was their seventh game in 12 days. It was an early start. If the team came out of the gate slow, you’d forgive them to some extent.
Instead, as winners of their past five games, the Canucks came out with their foot on the gas, as the Lotto Line led the charge in the Canucks dominating the Blue Jackets early. Vancouver was winning every board battle. They were routinely the first on pucks, and quickly, that turned into an early power play, and yet another 5v5 goal for the Lotto Line. And yet again, it was Elias Pettersson — the NHL’s first star of the week this past week — that was instrumental in creating the goal.
That goal was attributed to Brock Boeser, but moved to JT Miller afterwards. That’s Miller’s 20th goal of the year.
Columbus responded shortly thereafter, with Yegor Chinakhov scoring after a rare defensive miscue from Ian Cole:
Conor Garland scored the second goal of this game after another solid shift from the Canucks’ third line, which has easily been their second-best line for some time now. It may feel like there’s been more, but this was just Garland’s sixth goal of the season.
That third line just cannot stop cooking, and as a result, the Canucks exited the first period up by a goal.
The second period kicked off with some miscues from the Canucks. This one from vintage JT Miller forced Casey DeSmith to be sharp.
After that, Miller took a high sticking penalty to put the Blue Jackets back on the power play, which allowed them to tie this one up.
This game was quickly turning into a “whoever scores the last goal is going to win” type of game, which says a lot about this Canucks team given their circumstances. It also says a lot about the Blue Jackets.
Just minutes after the tying goal from Voronkov, Jake Bean took a hooking penalty to give the Canucks their second power play opportunity of the game. Then, while somehow looking tired and like he didn’t even want to be there (hey, he probably didn’t, to some extent) Elias Pettersson continued to show off his killer instinct, and gave the Canucks the lead once again.
The Canucks went into low-event hockey mode as they looked to close this game out in the same way they did against the Sabres and the Islanders on this road trip. Some hard work from Nils Höglander on the forecheck resulted in another Canucks power play with over six minutes remaining in the period. The Canucks’ power play couldn’t convert.
The second period penalty box parade didn’t stop there, as both Nikita Zadorov and Tyler Myers took penalties in the final five minutes. Thankfully for the Canucks, Casey DeSmith was sharp in this game, and they went to the locker room up 3-2.
And of course, the Canucks came into today’s game still undefeated when leading after 40 minutes. With a ridiculous record of 26-0-0 when they need to lock down a win in the final 20 minutes, the Canucks were going to have to earn every bit of what would have been their sixth straight win. The team really started to show some signs of fatigue in the second period, and it was shaping up to be a gruelling third period.
As expected, DeSmith made some sharp saves early on as the Canucks kept their shifts short and relied on their depth to help them close this one out. There were so many dump and changes that I lost count.
The Jackets kept pouring on the pressure, and after a failed clearing attempt from Ian Cole allowed them to extend their zone time, Columbus tied things up once again.
At this point, the Canucks really did look like they were out of gas.
Players were keeled over at the bench trying to catch their breath as this team looked to somehow leave Columbus with their sixth straight victory. This game was headed to overtime, which really put into perspective just how bad of a team Columbus is.
Columbus held possession for the opening minute of OT, and DeSmith once again made a couple of sharp saves. This allowed Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko to go the other way, and if the pass from EP40 hadn’t hopped over Kuzmenko’s stick, this game may have been over right there. As Columbus went the other way, they were called for a too many men on the ice bench minor. The Canucks’ power play also looked out of gas, and we were right back to 3-on-3 after Elias Pettersson tripped up Cole Sillinger just over 30 seconds into the Canucks’ man advantage. That was a very strong shift for Andrei Kuzmenko.
This left the Jackets with 30 seconds of power play time of their own to work with as they looked to take this one in front of their home crowd. Columbus took a season-high 41 shots in this game, but it didn’t matter. This one was headed to a shootout.
Johnny Gaudreau: STOPPED
Andrei Kuzmenko: STOPPED
Yegor Chinakhov: STOPPED
Kent Johnson: STOPPED
Elias Pettersson: STOPPED
Kirill Marchenko: SCORES
Pius Suter: STOPPED
Columbus takes this one, and the Canucks leave the road trip with 11 of a possible 14 points. No shame in this one, especially for Casey DeSmith, who stopped 38 of the 41 shots he faced.
What’s your instant reaction to this morning’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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