Seven points outside of the final playoff spot, the Vancouver Canucks are in desperate need of wins to stay in contention. Playing their second game of a six game road trip, the Canucks faced the Columbus Blue Jackets who are 7-8-1 since their 16 game winning streak.
With Sven Baertschi out with a concussion, Willie Desjardins made some adjustments to the line up as he got ready to face off against John Torteralla. The biggest change came with the promotion of Markus Granlund (13 goals this season) to the top line with Daniel & Henrik Sedin.
Granlund has had a better season than fans expected this year and I’m interested to see what he can do with this opportunity.
Ryan Miller was tested early by the Blue Jackets but on top of his game from the get-go. Columbus held the advantage in shots for the first
Markus Granlund’s solid two way play and awareness looked good with the Sedins. As the game went on, he seemed to know where he needed to be and displayed a knack on the forecheck.
Nikita Tryamkin showed off his size when Boone Jenner pestered him with some shoves after the whistle. I can’t get enough of watching Tryamkin throw NHL players around like they were paper dolls.
The Canucks played well this period, generating turnovers and driving possession. Vancouver looked dangerous in the offensive zone and pounced on any .
Reid Boucher also had a decent first period, getting a couple shots on net and making some smart plays while playing a little over 3 minutes.
44 seconds into the second period, Daniel Sedin scored his first goal in 10 games (2nd in 22) after Markus Granlund’s shot generated a big rebound in front of the net.
Light the lamp, bump the slump! pic.twitter.com/m2kWbq2DF4— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 10, 2017
This is one slump that absolutely has to be turned around if the Canucks hope to make a serious run for the playoffs. And if tonight’s play was any indication, Daniel Sedin is looking to turn the corner very soon.
While the Canucks controlled the momentum following their goal, the Blue Jackets soon began to rally back. After putting together some high pressure shifts and keeping Vancouver hemmed in their own zone, Willie Desjardins was forced to burn an early time-out and allow his team rest after icing the puck.
After the extensive pressure of John Torteralla’s team, the Canucks found themselves on the power play. With the man advantage, Loui Eriksson scored his 11th goal of season after some vintage Sedinery. Just look at those passes!
For the first time this year, the Canucks have now scored on the man advantage in 3 straight games.
Bo Horvat had a number of great scoring chances in this game. His best looking opportunity came shortly after the second goal when deftly moved around Ryan Murray.
As play continued, the game began to take more of a back and forth approach. Ryan Miller stood strong in net while Columbus threw everything they could at him.
As the period came to a close, Vancouver began to put together a number of fantastic looking chances with multiple odd man rushes and solid shots on net.
While the Canucks failed score in the final minutes, they went to the dressing room looking confident and ready for the next period.
Even when Columbus had a scoring chance, they still had to contend with Ryan Miller who wasn’t in a giving mood tonight. One of the best example of this came on Cam Atkinson’s breakaway opportunity a few minutes into the third period.
Not only did he make the initial save, he took care of the second from behind his net.
The Canucks continued to send strong looking attacks on the Blue Jackets net in the final period. Continuing they’re heads up play, we saw even more odd man rushes and scoring opportunities as the game carried on.
As the middle of the third period approached, Columbus and Vancouver had penalties within a minute of each other.
Following a brief Canucks power play, Troy Stecher madea brilliant stretch pass to find Jayson Megna. Megna went on to score another one of those goals where he switches to a whole new gear out of nowhere. It would be great to see him put together something like this in consecutive games.
With the game coming to a close, Vancouver played hard to keep Columbus off the score sheet and protect Ryan Miller’s shut out bid. Tightening up defensively, they did well to contain the Blue Jackets and limit any shots that came their way.
Ryan Miller’s 33 saves earned him his third shut out of the season and rekindled the meager hope fans may have for the postseason. With four games remaining in this road trip, there’s still a ton of work to do, but this is a great start.