As badly as the day went for the Ohio State football program, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a pretty embarrassing day as well as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Blue Jackets 7-3 in Nationwide Arena.
“That was one of the most embarrassing games since I have been here,” Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. “(Also that was) one of the most embarrassing games since I have been a coach. That was men against pee-wees out there. (I am) certainly embarrassed. I want to apologize to the fans. That was absolutely, utterly embarrassing.
The Blue Jackets have not had back-to-back victories since Nov. 24 when they finished a five game winning streak against the New York Islanders.
Going into Thursday’s game, Columbus was 13-2 when scoring first but only 4-11-3 when trailing first. Vancouver led 6-0 before Columbus got on the scoreboard when R.J. Umberger slipped a shot through Canucks goalie Cory Schneider’s five hole at the end of a Vancouver power play at 15:49 of the second for his first of two goals.
“They get a goal early on a broken play to the net and they get some confidence,” Blue Jackets forward Ethan Moreau said. “We didn’t shoot the puck early. For some reason we are fragile when one small thing goes wrong. We kind of go into a shell. This is a tough game to play when you’re afraid to make plays. You’ve seen it when one thing goes right, we dominate the first period and we come out fine.”
Vancouver’s top line of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Andrew Burrows combined for three goals and 10 points.
In a period reminiscent of the first period of the Penguins game minus the 10,000 fans from out-of-town, the Blue Jackets were outplayed in every facet of the game being outshot 17-5 and outscored 3-0. It took the Blue Jackets 12:30 before finding a shot on goal as Rick Nash received a Bronx cheer for shooting the puck into the chest of Cory Schneider.
“Professional athletes are paid to perform to do things,” Arniel said. “When you don’t perform, you don’t go out there and do your job, you get criticized. We’re all going to get criticized for it, but it is what we’re supposed to be doing and that wasn’t close being able to showing up for it.”
The second period did not go much better for the Blue Jackets as they were outscored 3-1 in the second.
Former Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres scored a pair of goals and now has 10 for the season as a Canuck. Former Ohio State Buckeyes forward Ryan Kesler scored his 17th of the season midway through the second for the Canucks.
The Blue Jackets were trailing 7-1 when they finally rallied as Umberger scored his second of the evening 9:08 into the third. Tom Sestito scored off a rebound three minutes later. Said rally came way too late to matter.
“They pressured hard, we weren’t good, and we just fed into it and made them look good,” Umberger said. “And we made them look better than they were. They played good but we made them look great.”
Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon was chased after giving up his sixth goal of the evening. When asked if Garon was pulled for mercy, Arniel said yes.
“I didn’t want to leave him hanging,” he said. “He has done too many good things for us recently.”
The mercy for the Blue Jackets’ players is that they are required to have Christmas Eve and Christmas off per NHL rules.
“Tonight was embarrassing, I feel bad for the fans,” Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot said. “We have to be way better than that… We need to play like we care. We got to find it in us to get out there. We should have enough incentive as it to our fans that we belong and that we appreciate them coming to the games.”