Slump comes to an end in Ohio
Canucks' shootout win helps turn things around after four-game skid
2 GAME OVER 1
It was the spin heard around the hockey world.
OK, not quite. But it did bump the slump. Mason Raymond's spinarama shootout goal was huge. Yes, two points against the Jackets qualifies as huge these days. It has come to this for the Canucks.
"It was a playoff approach, and you could tell," Daniel Sedin said.
Sure, in stretches. But if that was the playoff switch getting flipped, get out the panic buttons. The Canucks were good in the first, great in the second and soundly outplayed in the third.
"That's the best game we've played in a while," Raymond said.
That comment only reflects how low the Canucks had sunk while losing nine of their previous 12 games, and four in a row.
Lucky for them they made the right choice in net or they just might have had their lunch money stolen again. Without a vintage Roberto Luongo performance the Canucks wouldn't be snuggling in bed again with first place in the Northwest Division.
The Canucks got a hysteria-calming 2-1 shootout win when Raymond pulled out the spin move on Sergei Bobrovsky. The goalie had to have been startled to even be in a shootout where he has to face shots without all those Jackets who sit in front of him like a coat rack all game.
The Jackets wondered aloud later if Raymond broke the rules. They wanted an official review. But these spins are allowed if the player stays in motion, and Raymond did. He did the same thing 13 months ago against Tampa and scored. Same against the Islanders two years ago. Maybe he should try it more than once a year.
It looked like Raymond nearly missed too when he roofed his backhand.
Jason Garrison said Raymond didn't need to put that much mustard on his backhand or get it that high, calling it a "cherry on top." But Raymond claimed it was all part of his plan.
"Goalies are getting so good at getting their leg and a pad out there. From my standpoint I'm thinking I have to get the puck up just in case he does have the pad down there," Raymond said.
"I definitely wanted it upstairs."
More controversy circled the arena earlier in the third when Henrik Sedin got his stick in Bobrovsky's eye without a penalty. It's unclear what they wanted called. Bobrovsky was on his knees, and that's not usually a high stick. Goalies have their masks tapped with sticks all the time.
Having lost in Columbus on Thursday, the Canucks were nearly had again by the Jackets.
It sure felt like déjà vu when the Canucks' defence evaporated with 14 seconds left in a 1-1 game, leaving R.J. Umberger wide open for a shot. But Luongo made a clutch armpit save. Worth noting here, Cory Schneider is on record admitting Umberger owns him. Wonder how that would have gone with him staring down Umberger and a five-game losing streak on the line?
The Canucks should feel fortunate they got their eighth game of the year to a shootout. A Garrison blast beat Bobrovsky, and the teammates who surround him like an Occupy Bob protest, at the 16: 11 mark of the second. It was one of the few clean looks the Canucks had, tying a game the Canucks needed to win.
"We knew the win was an issue, and we knew we had to play a full 60 minutes," Garrison said. "I think (Chris) Higgins had a good screen on my shot and I don't think the goalie saw anything.
"It came at me at a perfect time and I had to make sure I got it through."
The Jackets don't give up much. They came into the game with four straight wins and points in seven consecutive games. They do it by piling up bodies in front of their net like a landfill. They have little interest in forechecking and force opponents to work the perimeter. The Canucks did plenty of that, but when they pushed the puck to the front of the net they regularly got outmuscled.
Fedor Tyutin smothered the Sedins all game. He tied up Henrik's stick when he was looking at a fat rebound in the first, and absolutely buried Daniel Sedin in front of the net in the second.
It was a great battle to watch, and that's what the officials did, ignoring hooking, holding, and some, well, hugging.
"They missed a lot of other calls, too," Henrik said.
Columbus scored first when Mark Letestu fired a shot off Luongo's left pad, then glided into the slot as Andrew Alberts just watched him pick up the rebound and flick it in.
Nashville at Vancouver
Thursday, 7 p.m., Rogers Arena TSN, TEAM 1040 AM
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