Despite getting off to a quick lead, things went south quickly for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period as they ultimately took their second loss in as many days, this time to the Vancouver Canucks.
Less than five minutes into Friday’s contest, All Star Seth Jones found the back of the net while on the man advantage to give the home team a 1-0 lead. The goal was Jones’ sixth point in his last four games.
The Blue Jackets power play unit, which ranks dead last in the National Hockey League, has now scored four power play goals in their last four games. Unfortunately for the CBJ, it was the Canucks who went on the man advantage late in the first period, and they capitalized as it rolled over early into the second.
Just 1:19 after the first intermission, former Jacket Sam Gagner sent a shot in on Sergei Bobrovsky. The puck was deflected in front to Thomas Vanek, who sent a blind backhander across to Sven Baertschi, who sent it into the open net to tie the game up at one.
The Canucks struck again at the 5:38 mark of the period, when defenseman Erik Gudbranson beat Bobrovsky on a one-timer to make it 2-1.
Vancouver scored two more goals late in the second period, both of which were a little fluky.
Brendan Gaunce broke his stick on a wrist shot on net. The result was a bit of a change up that fooled Bob and found the back of the net to make it 3-1 with 5:29 left. Later in the period, Alexander Edler made it 4-1 after he sent a shot wide on net from the point that went off of CBJ defender Markus Nutivaara’s skate and into the net with 2:45 left.
The Canucks’ four-goal second period was their highest scoring period of the season. Furthermore, it was the fifth time the Jackets have given up a four-goal period this season.
Scott Harrington brought the Jackets back to within two when he beat Jacob Markstrom with 7:25 remaining in the third period, but the goal was all the CBJ could muster. Vancouver added an empty netter with eight seconds left to secure their 5-2 victory.
Despite the poor result on the night, Nick Foligno sounded positive after the game:
I loved our first period and towards the end I liked a lot of things we did.
On the second period, Foligno had this to add:
You look at some of those goals, they’re all bounces.
John Tortorella echoed Foligno’s sentiments on the second period:
It was a funky second period, that’s for sure…you gotta make your puck luck. We had a lot of luck and a lot of it was bad in that second period.
For the Blue Jackets, Friday’s loss was their second straight to a team in the bottom three of the NHL. For the Canucks, the win was their first of 2018 and their first on the road since November.
The Jackets’ 46 games played is tied for most in the NHL, so their five day break comes at a good time, particularly considering the way the team’s played the last couple games. Foligno had this to say on the loss right before the break:
It’ll leave a bad taste in guys’ mouths for sure.
Seth Jones summed up the state of the Jackets following the game:
We’re still sitting second place in the [Metropolitan Division] so we’re not in too bad of a spot right now. I know it seems like we’re not even in the playoffs from the way we’ve been playing because our expectations are so high, and that’s a good thing…We’ll be fine.
Now at 25-18-3, the Blue Jackets get a break with their next game not coming until next Thursday. Only time will tell whether the time off gives the team a chance to settle down and get back to the basics: something they’ll desperately need to do if they’re going to have a good second half and live up to their lofty expectations.