Well, just when we were all standing at the edge of the cliff ready to jump, Roberto Luongo saves the day. This seems to happen a lot doesn't it? On Tuesday night in desperate need of a win, Roberto Luongo shut down the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-1 shootout victory, ending the Blue Jackets' five-game winning streak.
Luongo came up with huge stops all night, making 25 saves on the night, allowing just one goal in the second period. During the second period which the Canucks have struggled in before, they turned up the heat as they outshot Columbus 18-6. The only mistake Luongo made all night came at 3:04 in the second period as Mark Letestu knocked in his own rebound to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead.
The Canucks nearly ended their power play drought as well during the middle period. At 16:11, Ryan Johansen had been back on the ice for just two seconds following his penalty as Jason Garrison fired in a one-timer from just inside the blue line. While it technically wasn't a power play goal, the Blue Jackets only had four men in the defensive zone. When you haven't scored a power play goal in your last 25 attempts, sometimes you just have to take what you can get. We'll call it a power play goal with an asterisk.
Tuesday was another slow night for the Canucks offense, marking the fifth straight game of scoring less than three goals. In what seems to be a common theme as of late, the Canucks stalled in the third period once again. Through 12 minutes, Vancouver had managed just two shots on goal. Luckily, Luongo was up to the challenge, keeping the Canucks in the game all night. No save was bigger however than his final one in regulation. With 15 seconds left before overtime, RJ Umberger found himself positioned perfectly in the right face-off circle. Umberger fired a shot on net but was stopped by a butterfly save from Luongo, sending the game into overtime.
Luongo came up big in the shootout as well, stopping all three Columbus shooters. With a win looming, Luongo made one final stop against Letestu, avenging the second period goal, knocking away the shot with his stick, ending the Canucks' four-game losing streak.
All hail Roberto Luongo for "saving the season." Frustrations were boiling hotter than they had all season, and I'm sure both Luongo and Alain Vigneault are breathing a little easier tonight. After stopping Letestu's final shot, Luongo even had a sort of smile on his face that read, "Don't worry guys, I got this."
While it was a rough road trip, this win speaks volumes for the Canucks. The losing streak is finally over, the defense finally showed up, and the Canucks are back on top in the Northwest. All seems well in the world tonight.
Next up for the Canucks is an important four-game home stand against Nashville, Detroit, Minnesota and St. Louis. All four opponents are within two points of the Canucks in the Western Conference.