COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — To the Vancouver Canucks, Mason Raymond’s winning shootout goal in a 2-1 win on Tuesday night was a thing of beauty.
The Columbus Blue Jackets thought otherwise. In fact, they weren’t sure it should have even counted.
Raymond scored the only goal in the shootout, and seldom-used Roberto Luongo stopped 26 shots through overtime to lead the Canucks past the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“I have looked at it and I guarantee you that if you ask them (the Canucks), they’re going to say it was a good goal,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “To me, it looks a little questionable. It looks like he does take a step backward. It looks like the puck is moving backward.”
Shooters in the tiebreaker must make a consistent, continual move to the net. The Blue Jackets didn’t think Raymond did.
Raymond, shooting second for Vancouver, scored when he came to a quick stop, got goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on the ice, and then easily tapped a backhander into the net.
“We were all kind of pointing at it, asking (the officials) if they could go upstairs (to a video review),” Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen said. “I’m surprised they didn’t at least check. Why wouldn’t you check?”
The Canucks had no doubt that the goal was good.
“I’ve had some success with that move,” Raymond said. “I had my mind on it heading into overtime if we went there and I was getting the nod. I was going to do that move.”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was pleased that his team finally won after dropping four in a row (0-2-2).
“In the shootout, it’s about getting a save or two from your goaltender and hoping that one of your guys can put it in,” he said. “Mason did a real great move, and it was a nice win for us.”
Luongo, playing in his second game in 16 days, stopped all three Blue Jackets in the shootout. He had played only once since surrendering eight goals in an 8-3 loss on Feb. 24. In that other appearance he gave up three goals on 24 shots in a 4-2 loss at Calgary on March 3.
But he was up to the task on Tuesday night, ending Columbus’ five-game winning streak and depriving the Blue Jackets of tying the franchise mark for consecutive wins.
“They were on a pretty hot streak, playing really well,” Luongo said. “And their goalie’s been out of this world. Shootouts haven’t always been kind to us but we found a way to get it done.”
Asked to sum up Luongo’s big effort, Vigneault said, “He was excellent.”
Jason Garrison had the lone goal before overtime for the Canucks.
Mark Letestu scored the only regulation goal for Columbus. Despite the loss, the Blue Jackets matched a franchise record by earning a point in an eighth consecutive game (5-0-3).
Bobrovsky, selected as the No. 1 star in the NHL last week, made his fifth straight start. He went 4-0 with a 0.77 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and his first career shutout a week ago.
He also earned a 2-1 overtime win over Vancouver last Thursday at home, stopping 34 shots. Bobrovsky has given up just five goals in six games.
Bobrovsky made 37 saves against the Canucks.
“Anytime you can add a point, it’s good,” said Letestu, who was stopped in the shootout by Luongo to seal Vancouver’s win. “Especially the way the schedule is, and with the teams so tight in the standings, it’s a small victory to get the point.
“If you can pick up points along the way, who knows? It might be the point that gets us in (the playoffs).”
With the score tied at 1, perhaps the best scoring chance for either team in the third period came early when Brassard’s blast from the left dot clanged off the far post.
Then, in the closing seconds, R.J. Umberger ended up all alone against Luongo as he set up a wrist shot from the right dot.
“The puck just kind of squirted out to him,” Luongo said. “I tried to come out and make myself as big as possible, and luckily it hit me in the shoulder.”
NOTES: It was the last game of a three-game road trip for the Canucks. … Brassard was playing in his 300th NHL game. … Vancouver D Kevin Bieksa missed his fifth game because of a groin injury. … The Blue Jackets, who killed two penalties, have not allowed a 5-on-4, power-play goal since Feb. 18, a span of 11 games. … Columbus fourth-line center Derek MacKenzie didn’t play (upper body). … The Blue Jackets also strung together points in eight straight games (4-0-2-2) from Jan. 15 to Feb. 6, 2009.