Vancouver - Nov. 30, 2011 - Ginger Jesus is a stud, plain and simple! He’s so dialed in that he is on an unbelievable roll, and he proved it again tonight backstopping the Canucks to their fifth straight win. In a game with the Columbus Blue Jackets throwing everything they could muster at the Canucks in an attempt to get out of their 1-7 slump, it was Schneider that anchored the defense, that were bending but weren’t breaking.
Early in the first period it was Schneider that set the tone for the game, and deservedly so, he should be enjoying a steak dinner on Cody Hodgson’s tab as he saved Cody’s bacon after he coughed the puck up at the side of the net while trying to clear the puck. Schneider made a point blank save on Jackets Mark Letestu as he accepted Hodgson’s gift and was allowed to walk in on Ginger. But Schneids was up to the task, and by making the save was essentially sending the message that he wasn’t going to allow himself to be easily beat tonight.
After going up 2-0 early in the first on a sweet goal by Daniel Sedin, and a great second effort by David Booth who scored on his own rebound, it was pretty much all Jackets after that as they pushed the Canucks D to their limit through to the third period. As expected, the Jackets weren’t playing this game as if it was a Sunday pick-up match at the neighborhood rink. They were able to sustain extended bouts of pressure in the Canucks zone, and even though the D were having fits trying to contain the pesky Jackets, Schneider wasn’t having any of it as he made several close saves to keep the Jackets frustration level peaked.
Try as they might, the Blue Jackets just couldn’t beat Schneider as they outshot the Canucks putting 26 shots on Schneids through two periods. Then in an unthinkable situation with the Canucks on the power play early in the third, they have a brain fart and allow Samuel Pahlsson a short handed scoring opportunity, which he converts on at 4:27, spoiling Cory’s third shutout bid. With the score 2-1 and the momentum starting to tilt towards the Jackets, Ryan Kesler tee’d up a setup pass from non other than Alexandre Burrows and blasted it top shelf past Curtis Sanford to regain the two goal lead. Kesler’s goal came 1:28 after Pahlsson’s and essentially served to suck the last breath out of the Jackets. Burrows scored an empty netter at 19:17 to seal it for the Canucks 5th straight win.
Again, all the Canucks goals came at even strength, only having two PP opportunities. The Defense was pushed to it’s limits as the Jackets pushed hard, outshooting the Canucks 48-34 but again it was Schneider who was the difference again tonight! Ginger faced 45 shots against the Sharks on Saturday night, and 48 tonight only allowing a total of 3 goals on 93 shots, OUTSTANDING!! With that being said, the Canucks D had better find their leaks and start plugging them, because without Schneider’s “God-like” tending, the outcomes of these past two games could have been drastically different!
Kesler continues to improve and is looking more like last year’s form with every game, and David Booth who scored tonight’s second goal is also coming along nicely, so it won’t be long before the second line will be the potent, feared line it is intended to be.
The Canucks now get to figure out who will get the start against the lethargic Predators on Thursday night. What say you now Coach V? (I’ll give you a hint: It’s called the Ginger Express!)