Wennberg lifts Blue Jackets over Canucks 2-1 in shootout
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Columbus coach John Tortorella wasn’t looking for any special fanfare in his first visit to Vancouver since the Canucks fired him after a single season.
“I think I got enough recognition when I got booted out of here,” Tortorella said after his Blue Jackets beat the Canucks 2-1 in a shootout Thursday night. “So I don’t need any more around here.”
Alex Wennberg scored the only goal in the shootout as last-place Columbus handed the Canucks their third straight loss.
Scott Hartnell scored on the power play in the third period for the Blue Jackets, and Joonas Korpisalo made 37 saves.
Tortorella, let go by the Canucks after they failed to reach the 2014 playoffs, was more interested in talking about Korpisalo. The young Finnish netminder withstood a barrage of shots in the third period and overtime to keep his team in the game.
“He’s unflappable as far as his mental toughness,” Tortorella said. “Just a great experience for him as far as what he is doing for the club and for him as far as his confidence.”
Linden Vey scored in the first period for Vancouver, and Ryan Miller stopped 27 shots.
The game also marked the return of Henrik Sedin after the Canucks captain missed four games with a shoulder injury. Sedin was equally impressed with Korpisalo’s play.
“He was all over the place,” Sedin said. “We had some chances, but he came back and made some big saves. He’s been playing well for them.”
It was another frustrating ending for the Canucks, who have allowed late goals in their last three games. Vancouver’s offense has been sputtering, and coach Willie Desjardins knows the trend can’t continue with his team four points behind Nashville for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
“If we’re going to get to the playoffs, we need more,” Desjardins said. “And it’s from the whole team. Columbus played well. They came in and had good speed. And they got some good goaltending tonight, and when that happens it’s tough to play a team like that.”
The Canucks opened the scoring at 10:55 on the man advantage with Cam Atkinson off for hooking. Bo Horvat sent a slick cross-ice pass to Vey, who one-timed it past Korpisalo for his second of the season.
Korpisalo made some nice saves in the second, including kicking out his pad to close the door on Alex Edler’s wraparound attempt midway through the period.
Columbus finally broke through with Canucks center Jared McCann in the penalty box for hooking. Hartnell tied the game at 9:06 of the third when he fired the puck in from the slot for his 18th of the season.
“To get one, especially late to tie it up, was huge,” Hartnell said. “We moved the puck well. We got in the zone pretty good. It was a big one.”
Vancouver went on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime with William Karlsson off for interference. However, the Canucks couldn’t capitalize despite outshooting Columbus 4-1 in the extra period.
“We had our opportunities and it didn’t work out,” Miller said. “We need to execute, we need to convert, and we need to get points.”
NOTES: Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who took part in the morning skate, was held out of the lineup. Hamhuis hasn’t played in nearly two months since taking a puck in the face against the Rangers. He’s expected to play Saturday when Vancouver hosts Calgary.