COLUMBUS — The Blue Jackets limped into their five-day break after another surprising loss to one of the NHL’s worst teams.
Sven Baertschi sparked a four-goal second period for Vancouver, Jacob Markstrom had 27 saves and the Canucks rallied to beat Columbus 5-2 on Friday night, Jan. 12.
The Blue Jackets also lost 3-1 to Buffalo on Thursday night (Jan. 11) despite out-shooting the Sabres 45-29. Columbus got off to a strong start against Vancouver before the decisive second period. The Blue Jackets now get some time to recover while still holding onto second place in the Metropolitan Division.
“It’ll leave a bad taste in the guys’ mouths for sure,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. “But this break probably comes at a good time for us where we can get away, recharge and know that we have a chance here to get some energy for a big push in February, March and April.”
Seth Jones put Columbus up 1-0 during a strong first period, but Vancouver powered ahead in the second. Baertschi, Erik Gudbranson, Brandon Gaunce and Alexander Edler scored, and Jake Virtanen added an empty-net goal with nine seconds left in the third to help the Canucks snap a five-game skid.
Thomas Vanek and Henrik Sedin each had two assists for Vancouver, which won for just the third time since Dec. 7.
Sergei Bobrovsky let in four of the Canucks’ 12 shots in the second period, although he was the victim of some unfortunate bounces. He finished with 24 saves. Matt Calvert also scored for Columbus.
“We worked hard today for 60 minutes and it showed,” Markstrom said. “This is how we have to play every night.”
Early on, though, it looked as if the game might go the Blue Jackets’ way.
At 4:33 into the first period, Foligno found Jones wide open at the top of the right circle, and the All-Star defenseman slapped a shot past Markstrom for his eighth goal.
“I like how we stuck with it,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “I didn’t feel a sense of panic on the bench.”
Baertschi tied it with his ninth goal on a power play 1:19 into the second. Vanek set it up with a nifty behind-the-back pass across the goal mouth, and Baertschi swept it in from a sharp angle. Gudbranson gave the Canucks the lead at 5:38 when he beat Bobrovsky from the right point.
The Canucks got another power-play goal at 14:31. Gaunce broke his stick on the shot, but the puck slipped in between Bobrovsky’s pads. The fourth goal came at 17:15 when Edler’s shot deflected off the skate of defender Markus Nutivaara.
“It was a funky second period, that’s for sure,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “You have to make your puck luck. We had a lot of luck and a lot of it was bad in that second period. We’ve just got to reset ourselves here and try to find our way.”
Calvert made it 4-2 with 7:25 remaining, but the Blue Jackets couldn’t get closer.
NOTES: Henrik Sedin has 18 assists in his last 19 games. His twin brother and line mate Daniel Sedin has two goals and three assists in the last four games. … Vanek has five goals and eight assists in the last 10 games. … Columbus F Sonny Milano missed his second game with an unspecified upper-body injury. … Vancouver D Chris Tanev returned after missing two games with facial injuries. He lost six teeth after taking a puck in the mouth against Toronto on Jan. 6. … Vancouver scratched D Derrick Pouliot, D Alex Beiga and F Michael Chaput. … Jones extended his point streak to four games with the first-period goal. … Foligno had assists on both Columbus goals.
Columbus: After the five-day break, Blue Jackets host Dallas on Thursday night, Jan. 18.
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