Blue Jackets At Canucks Recap ; None Shall Pass (4-1W)

As the story goes, Cory Schneider is a Monty Python. Its why he has the title on his helmet. He has stolen Roberto Luongo's spot, stoked trade rumours, became the latest cause celebre in the "goaltender debate" that has existed for fans of this franchise since the first year with Charlie Hodge, George Gardner, and the "kid" Dunc Wilson.

It is not debate in the locker room at all, by all reports. Roberto Luongo has been supporting his friend and teammate and saying the right things. He knows what a hot streak feels like. That has not stopped the McIntyres, Gallaghers and Sekereses of the world from burning up column space and airwaves with as much of a "goaltender controversy" as they think we can stomach. Meanwhile, most fans just are happy they are winning. Like Kent said today, it's a great problem to have.

When you think about it, the Black Knight has a great attitude for a goaltender. After losing all his limbs? "Right, we'll call it a draw".

There are no ties in the NHL anymore though. Did CBJ break through the Ginger Wall? Improve on their dismal 6-11-3 record in LotusLand? After the break.

ESPN

NHL

1st period points -

- Cody Hodgson looked to have a few struggles in the opening period. He was 0/4 on the draw, and was credited with a hit and a giveaway. Like everything the kid does though, he does it well. What a giveaway! Early on, off a simple feed from the defenseman, he simply had a puck go off his stick. Right to Letestu, who looked like he thought had less time. Or, maybe he has heard of the Ginger Ninja, who stared him down and made the save look easy.

- The Sedin line has the mantle of being the top line, and they have mostly played like it, whether it is Jannik Hansen or Alexandre Burrows on the wing. But they definitely play better with the veteran of World Ball Hockey championships, the Greensville Growwl, Baton Rouge Kingfish, Columbia Inferno and Manitoba Moose. His 3 hits in the first period, puck battle acumen and almost reflex positioning now with the Twins is definitely the better choice. If only because Beaker looks solid with Malhotra and Silent G as well.

- At first I thought it was just one of Garrett's fanciful theories, but I do think that Daniel Sedin made a play on that point shot from Alexander Edler to get around the box out of the defender and put it into the empty net. His first goal in 8 games.

- The second goal though, was started by Dan Hamhuis, otherwise known as the man that made everyone say "Ehrhoff who?", with a simply perfect pinch to beat his check. Chris Higgins got an assist for barely touching the puck on it's way to the net, but the goal was the product of David Booth and his desire to go to the "dirty areas". He was the catalyst on that line tonight on the forecheck, and his speed combined with Kesler's and Higgin's must be truly terrifying for some of the slower defensemen in the league. Hell, the faster ones too!

Digits... A few of the guys struggled on draws in the first, but not Keslord and Money, who were 6/8 and 4/5 respectively. The shots were 11-11 after one, and I thought the Canucks had the better of it in the first, but man, some of those chances the BJ's had were solid. Carter and Wizniewski led the way with 2 each. Derek Dorsett only had 1 hit, but must have hit the boards going for Ballard at least twice.

2nd period fiddle faddle -

- Another period, another Ginger Wall in the crease. It did not seem to matter in the second, when the visitors really took it to the home team. Whether it was a shot in close, like Ryan Johansen had, or a Nash and Carter shift of territorial dominance, the Blue Jackets sure showed they have some fight in them despite their record in Vancouver. Maybe Scott Arniel's between periods talk included a promise of going to the Roxy if they won?

- For all that, Curtis Sanford was not a total punk tonight. The second was actually pretty even for the first five minutes, and it was an amazing save by the one time Luongo back up on Hansen, off a very slick pass from Cody Hodgson should have been in the net. But you could say that about chances at both ends tonight. A game against a team we seem to own anyhow actually turned into a pretty entertaining game.

- Shortly after that five minute mark, the Blue Jackets showed off a pretty impressive power play. They were helped by Derrick Brassard winning a few draws from Manny Malhotra, and looked solid. They had 6 shots, and at least half of those were on chances to score. Cory Schneider.

- A late penalty on Hansen was handled much better though. Both before and after the break between periods, they effectively neutered the same power play.

3rd period, otherwise known as the time of the Keslord in the Age of Burrows -

- It was a damn shame. I am not sure if there was one guy that picked up his check on the penalty kill to ruin the shutout. A simple shot off the boards that looked more like a pass off the pads found Sammy Paulsson in the slot with several Blue and Green sweaters around him, but no one really on him at all. There was really nothing that he could have done with that one.

- That being said, they got it back. A power play that looked a little disjointed at first was pretty slick at overcoming their net front presence breaking his stick. After playing keep away until he got a new twig, Burrows laid a nice flat pass in the shooty spot, and Kesler buried it for the important two goal lead once again.

- 1 goal, 1 assist, a +2, and 3 SOG, as well as a takeaway is how the stats sheet reads for the Livonia, Michigan native. But what I really enjoyed, in addition to the 12/22 in the circle, including penalty kill ( on a GOOD penalty by Daniel Sedin. The Twins get some "stick" for their stick fouls, but if he does not hook Dorsett there, its a goal. Better to kill the penalty, even if its in the last 10 minutes of the third )

- It was not picked up by the broadcast, but Sami Salo got a little tweak tonight, when he stepped on a puck and probably tweaked a groin. It was a good thing that Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis. Both had an assist, and were a combined +3. That last couple minutes, and for most of the game really, even with an opposing team getting 48 shots, they were keeping things to the outside, and were both solid at clearing the rebounds and the front so Ginger could see the puck hit his chest with the perfect positioning the goaltender exhibited once again.

Count it down -

I forgot to save the page for the end of the second period stats, so here are a bunch of the numbers for you. Rick Nash had 3 shots, and Derek Dorsett had twice that. They had chances up and down the lineup, but Johansen and Umberger both had 5 shots, and the local boy Johansen may have been the best of the BJ's tonight. Vancouver won most the team stats tonight though. They won the face off battle 37-31, powered by Kes' and Money. They outhit the opposition 25 to 22. They had 6 takeaways to 2 for the Columbus team. But giving it away 8 times to 2 for the opposition does not help, unless its to up the shots count, which ended up 48-34.

Burrows stats line - 1 G / 1A / +3 / 2 SOG / 4 hits / 2 takeaways. He wins stat line of the night, even with Keslord being the Keslord in the third. Malhotra - 10 of 15 draws, much better than the 1 of 8 his linemate Hodgson and "centre" had. Maxim Lapierre had 6 hits, Aaron Volpatti 4, and David Booth drilled 3 guys.

I picked this very simple save to illustrate a point. ( and you can check all the others at the NHL link anyhow, there are plenty! The positioning of the Ginja Ninja is so perfect right now. Look where this puck hits. I don't know if the team tracks this in their sabermetrics, but if they do, I am not sure there was very many shots that forced a rebound when Schneids could see it...maybe the BJ's are squeezing the stick and making the shot in the wrong place. More than likely, its the positioning.

Thanks to the Canucks for getting me 2 more points in the SPW tonight, and for winning their 5th straight. I always hate when people try to tell you that your team got outplayed but for the goalie. The guy is wearing the same sweater the forwards and blueliners are right? Who starts Thursday versus the Preds, and if Schneider is the Black Knight, does that make Luongo King Arthur?

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