Vancouver Canucks forward Max Lapierre gets set to high-five his teammates on the bench after scoring the only goal of the game — in the shootout, no less — in the National Hockey League contest Tuesday, March 27, 2013 against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, NHLI via Getty Images
VANCOUVER — Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band are scheduled to rock Rogers Arena on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday night, it was a different Bob who nearly stole the show at The Rog.
Actually, it wasn't much of a show.
But Sergei Bobrovsky, the Russian goalie who has helped revitalize the Columbus Blue Jackets, was the star of a game that didn't have much going for it.
The Vancouver Canucks outshot the Blue Jackets 34-17, but needed a shootout to win 1-0.
Max Lapierre finally beat Bobrovsky with a backhand to win it for the Canucks, who now have five straight victories. Lapierre scored the only goal in the three-round shootout. Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider made stops on Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Matt Calvert.
"I just tried the backhand move I try in practice and I got lucky," Lapierre said. "I don't really have an A move. I try not to think too much and, like I said, I got lucky."
Before Lapierre beat him, Bobrovsky had stopped Mason Raymond and Jordan Schroeder in the shootout.
There were times during the game when Schneider could have taken a long nap. He saw only two shots in the first period and had faced only eight through two periods.
"We played a great game to outshoot them 2-to-1 and I think if we play like that we are going to win a majority of our games," Schneider said. "But I'm not sure anyone knew I was playing until the third period.
"Hat's off to our guys for keeping them at bay and controlling the puck."
This was one of those instances where a shootout was a good thing. No one wanted to watch any more of this game. It was for the most part deadly dull.
The Blue Jackets showed us why they only have three road wins this season and have now scored 24 goals in 14 road games. They spend much of the game not really trying to score, but making sure the other team doesn't.
"There are many dull games to play, but this one actually didn't feel that way," said defenceman Keith Ballard, who for the third time in the last four games played on the wing. "The later it goes 0-0, you're one mistake, one bad bounce away from being down, so there's an importance to every play. But I can't imagine it was fun to watch."
You've got that right, Keith.
Bobrovsky stopped Jannik Hansen on a breakaway with 30 seconds left in overtime and made several other big saves. He and Schneider both earned their third shutouts of the season.
Schneider has now allowed only five goals in the last five games.
"Again, I think it all goes back to playing as a group," Schneider said. "It's not just one guy. It's everyone chipping in and working hard, making things readable and making it easier for me to react to. It's been a great turnaround from our group just to tighten things up and play smart hockey."
Defenceman Kevin Bieksa wasn't making any apologies for the lack of excitement.
"I think that's five in a row now and that's what we want to do, we want to win games," Bieksa said. "I think we are playing the right way now. We gave up six (actually eight) shots through two periods. That's a pretty good effort defensively. We are playing to our strengths, we are getting good goaltending and we are a patient team. If it takes to overtime or a shootout to get the win, that's the way we are playing. We are not changing our game."
Coach Alain Vigneault liked his team's effort.
"You stick with the program and hopefully by doing the right things on the ice you are going to wear them down and you might be able to score at least one," Vigneault said. "We did everything we were supposed to. I think we threw something like 70 pucks (actually 75) near their net and when they didn't block it or we didn't miss the net, their goalie was there to make the saves."
The Canucks improved to 18-9-6 and moved two points up on the Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division standings. The Wild have two games in hand.
The Canucks had a couple of Grade A scoring chances in the second period. In the opening minute, Bobrovsky robbed Daniel Sedin from point-blank range and a few minutes later made back-to-back saves on Hansen and Schroeder.
The Blue Jackets' best chance came midway through the second when Nick Foligno tested Schneider from the slot.
The Canucks dominated a scoreless first period, outshooting the Blue Jackets 13-2. They couldn't beat Bobrovsky, who had a clear view of most of shots, but Alex Edler did knock his mask off when he caught him with a shot on a Vancouver power play.
Schneider got some help from defenceman Dan Hamhuis, who got his skate on a Foligno shot from close range with just over a minute left in the third.
"That's vintage Hammer right there," Schneider said. "Skate save, that's old school."
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