Umberger lifts Blue Jackets over Canucks 3-1
- Article by: RUSTY MILLER
- Associated Press
- October 20, 2013 - 8:20 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio — R.J. Umberger scored his first goal of the season with 8:46 left and the Columbus Blue Jackets ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
Curtis McElhinney, making his first appearance for the Blue Jackets in place of Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, had 37 saves. Bobrovsky was given the night off.
Marian Gaborik and Ryan Johansen also scored for the Blue Jackets, who won for the first time at home this season after losing their first two.
Henrik Sedin had the goal for the Canucks. Eddie Lack stopped 26 shots in place of Roberto Luongo, rested on the second night of back-to-back games for Vancouver.
Umberger and Johansen each had an assist as well.
McElhinney spent last year in the American Hockey League after being acquired in a trade with Phoenix. Bobrovsky, selected the NHL's top goalie last season, had started Columbus' first seven games.
The Blue Jackets played five of their first seven games on the road.
Umberger scored his 152nd career goal but first since April 15, when the Blue Jackets were putting on a late surge that fell just short of getting them into the playoffs.
With the game tied 1-all in the third, Johansen carried the puck on a 2-on-2 rush into the offensive zone and slid a pass to Umberger, who had advanced behind Chris Higgins. Umberger faked and slid the puck between Lack's legs.
The Canucks, playing their fourth of a season-high seven-game road trip, applied plenty of pressure to tie it. McElhinney gloved a hard one-timer by Jason Garrison in the final minutes and then stopped Higgins' jam shot from point-blank range off a pass from the back wall by Daniel Sedin with 45 seconds remaining.
Johansen then added an empty-netter.
Early in the second, McElhinney made a nice stop on an unobstructed shot from the left circle by Brad Richardson, who had scored goals in the last two games.
The Canucks, down 1-0, pulled even at 10:42 of the second on the power play. It was the definition of a scrum — eight players in the crease, all hacking at the elusive puck. Henrik Sedin finally pushed it across the line for his second of the season.
Columbus was outshot 13-2 — and outplayed by about the same margin — yet led 1-0 after the opening period.
At the 3:27 mark, Artem Anisimov grabbed a pass around the boards from James Wisniewski and wristed a quick shot from the top of the right circle. Gaborik was in the slot, behind a defender, and tipped the shot with his stick past Lack.
It was Gaborik's third goal in the first eight games — matching his total with the Blue Jackets in 12 games after he was acquired at the trade deadline last season from the New York Rangers.
Columbus had 1:34 with a two-man advantage in the second period after the Canucks twice were called for delay of game for ramming pucks off the net or over the glass. Fedor Tyutin slapped a shot off the crossbar and, at the end of the second minor, Lack made a beautiful toe save when Cam Atkinson slipped in all alone on a rush.
NOTES: Columbus forwards Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and Anisimov played for first-year Vancouver coach John Tortorella when all were with the New York Rangers the past few years. ... Anisimov has points in his last three games. ... The crowd of 14,168 booed a call midway through the third period when it appeared Dubinsky's shot out of a pileup slipped over the goal line. Seconds later, Umberger scored and it counted. ... Columbus coach Todd Richards celebrated his 47th birthday.
© 2014 Star Tribune