At its best, Sunday was boring.
But there the Columbus Blue Jackets were – with goalie Curtis McElhinney swatting away 37 pucks at the end of a four-game losing streak – shutting down the Vancouver Canucks in Ohio, a win they probably didn’t deserve but one the Canucks did little to steal.
“You could see it. We were kind of waiting and when you’re waiting bad things happen,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said after the loss. “We didn’t give them much, but we gave them enough to win the hockey game.”
A day earlier, Vancouver managed to put 39 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins, somehow led late despite never dominating for a sustained moment, and escaped with a 4-3 shootout loss against a true Pennsylvania powerhouse.
In a carbon copy of the last time Pittsburgh and Vancouver faced off – in October, 2011 – the Penguins put it away in the shootout. Rather, Evgeni Malkin put it away in the shootout, with a neat little fake-to-backhand that fooled Luongo, even though Roberto made two sturdy saves off Sidney Crosby and Jussi Jokinen, as well as a late penalty shot off Brandon Sutter.
“I know what’s going on and I know the goalies and I just did my move and scored,” Malkin said after.
Well put. That’s exactly what it looked like:
With two points in Saturday’s game, Crosby now leads the NHL with 17 points in eight games. With a goal against the Blue Jackets on Sunday, Canucks captain Henrik Sedin is five back with 12 points in 10 games.
The Canucks have now finished four games of their seven-match road trip, and head to Long Island to take on the New York Islanders, Tuesday, October 22 at 4 p.m. PST.