Dano scores 2 goals, Blue Jackets rout Canucks 6-2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Marko Dano is making his mark — and a major case to stick with the Columbus Blue Jackets next season.
The rookie center recorded his first two-goal game in the NHL and Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves as the Blue Jackets routed the Vancouver Canucks 6-2 on Thursday night.
He played in his 25th game in the NHL, but the 20-year-old Austrian now has three goals and four assists in his last five games.
“It’s a big opportunity for me to earn a spot for next year,” Dano said. “The time (in the AHL) helped me a lot, but now I am trying to play here and trying to get a spot here for next year.”
Rene Bourque, Cam Atkinson, Scott Hartnell and Alexander Wennberg — an empty-netter — also scored for Columbus, which has won five of its last six.
Bo Horvat and Daniel Sedin had goals for Vancouver. Eddie Lack allowed five goals on 30 shots before being pulled in favor of Jakob Markstrom midway through the third period.
Markstrom finished with two saves for Vancouver, which is just a point up on Calgary for second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand.
“I just feel at this time of year ... what you should see is the team that we are,” said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, whose club has struggled at times against the NHL’s subpar teams. “The team that showed tonight, that’s got to be our team because there’s no reason on a game this big that we wouldn’t play our best.”
Columbus led 3-2 after the second period and extended that advantage 5:31 into the third when Dano swatted home a loose puck at the side of the net after a strange bounce off the glass for the rookie’s second of the night and seventh of the season.
Hartnell added his 22nd on a 2-on-1 at 8:32 to make it 5-2, with Dano picking up an assist for the first three-point game of his career.
Wennberg scored his third into an empty net with under five minutes to go as the Blue Jackets won for the second time in as many nights after a 3-2 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
“We stopped playing and I didn’t come up with those big saves either,” Lack said. “That’s a tough one for us.”
Bobrovsky made a couple of big saves in the first period to keep things scoreless as Vancouver held a 20-10 shot edge through 20 minutes before a wild second.
The Canucks grabbed the lead three minutes in when Horvat jumped on a giveaway and ripped his 12th goal of the season glove side on Bobrovsky. Daniel Sedin then doubled that advantage 40 seconds later, banging home his own rebound for his 15th.
Columbus’ Corey Tropp and Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett dropped the gloves a few minutes later in a spirited fight, which seemed to inspire the visitors.
After Bobrovsky made a good save at the other end, Bourque scored his fourth of the season and first with Columbus on a shot from well out at 7:04 that might have taken a deflection off a Canucks’ stick, before Dano snapped his sixth home from the slot past Lack at 10:01.
The Blue Jackets got a late power play and scored with 2:42 left in the period when Mark Letestu’s point shot was deflected by Atkinson before pinballing in off Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler.
“When you’re a good enough team, you always play your style of hockey and the way you plan,” Desjardins said. “I think we’re up and down a little bit. I think we need to be better than that.”
NOTES: The Canucks finished the regular season 21-10-1 against the East. ... The Canucks will practice at Rogers Arena on Friday before beginning a two-game road trip against Los Angeles on Saturday and Arizona on Sunday.