So Thatcher Demko hasn’t had the best season, huh? It’s not necessarily his fault. He hasn’t been able to establish a rhythm with the big club, only getting into six games. Injuries were a factor in that, but so was the coach’s insistence to ride Jacob Markstrom during a playoff run.
Speaking of which, Demko’s play has also shone a light on just how effective Markstrom has been this season. Last night dropped Demko’s save percentage with the Canucks to .893. Hopefully he can learn from this, but last night was something of an indication of how far the Canucks and Demko have to go to be actual competitors in the league.
It wasn’t always slated to be a blowout, but after an entertaining, tough first period, things went downhill pretty quickly.
Here’s what else we saw in Columbus’s 5-0 route of the Canucks.
Three that impressed
1. Luke Schenn
The Johns (Shorthouse and Garrett) repeatedly praised the veteran defenceman last night, and they were correct to do so. Schenn was pretty much the only fun thing to watch on the Canucks side of things. He had 12 (!) hits, and it wasn’t the sort of thing some arenas do where they give phantom hits for brushes of body contact. No, Schenn was out there finishing every check and doing it with ferocity. In a Canucks game that was mostly tough to watch, he provided something of a reprieve.
2. Josh Anderson
This is tough, because Anderson laid a brutal, brutal hit on Alex Edler that shouldn’t earn him any praise.
But after that—and after taking some retribution from Schenn—Anderson was a force for the Blue Jackets. He had two goals and an assist and was generally unstoppable as he drove down the wing, daring Canucks to get in his way.
He’s a bit of an unheralded player outside of Columbus, but in a game the Jackets needed, he stepped up.
3. Sergei Bobrovsky
It’s not like the Canucks didn’t have their chances. Like we said, the first period was close, honest!
But ‘Bob was on his game, and when that’s a reality, it’s not going to be easy for Columbus’s opponents. This stop on a Markus Granlund one-timer was one of his best of the night.
Three that didn’t
1. Tanner Pearson
Don’t want to throw the second goal completely on him, but Pearson had all the time in the world and couldn’t get a pass by Artemi Panarin, who quickly got the puck up to Pierre-Luc Dubois, who made it 2-0.
It was the type of play Travis Green undoubtedly made note of after and one he has spent a long time trying to rid the Canucks of making.
2. Nikolay Goldobin & Sven Baertschi
We’re just going to lump these two together because both returned to the lineup (albeit for different reasons) and both were not noticeable, other than a few defensive gaffes.
3. Loui Eriksson
Talking about defensive gaffes, Eriksson just let Anderson walk in on the Blue Jackets’ first goal, confusing Troy Stecher who rightfully assumed that Eriksson would take the man. Wasn’t a great showing from the veteran, who should really be busting his ass most nights, especially after a recent healthy scratch.
- Losing is always hard to swallow, for sure, but when you have to do it to John Tortorella, one imagines that goes double. (Also, what the F was he wearing?)
- Seth Jones is a player. He’s already become of the best defencemen in the league and followed Mark Giordano’s lead from a night earlier when he made Jake Virtanen look silly by smartly avoiding a hit.
- If Quinn Hughes is ready to go (and he should be soon), it won’t be hard to take Ashton Sautner out of the lineup. After Brisebois had a tough game in Calgary, Sautner looked outclassed last night.
- Markus Granlund has actually looked pretty solid the last couple games and will be hard to take out of the lineup once Josh Leivo is back healthy. He had the highest Corsi of any Canuck against Columbus.
- Canucks coach Travis Green might not have to make a decision there, actually, as Tyler Motte left the game with what the coach called an upper body and didn't return. Green didn't have an update on Motte's status after the game.
“The hockey’s hard at this time of year, especially when teams are desperate every night.” – Canucks coach Travis Green
“It’s a tired team we played, but a team that works hard. So an important win for us obviously.” - Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
“That's how we have to treat each game from now on, a 'must-win,' really.” - Josh Anderson