With star goaltender Roberto Luongo on the bench and the Columbus Blue Jackets preparing for a penalty shot, the Vancouver Canucks needed clutch goaltending from backup Cory Schneider.
He came up huge, stopping rookie Maksim Mayorov and ripping momentum away from the Blue Jackets.
Cody Hodgson tied the game just a minute later and Alexandre Burrows scored on a power play to turn a potential Canucks loss into a 3-2 victory on Monday night that gave Columbus its first 0-3 start to a season in franchise history.
“Schneids was good,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “He kept us in it. He made a big save on that penalty shot. It gave us a chance to come back and win the game.”
The Blue Jackets were swarming the net when Vancouver defenceman Christopher Tanev fell on a puck loose in the crease and grabbed it with his right glove while knocking the goal cage off its moorings. A lengthy video review followed, which determined the puck had crossed the goal-line. Eventually, Columbus was awarded the penalty shot because the referee had called the play dead while Tanev was covering the puck.
But Schneider got a piece of Mayorov’s attempt.
“I know he’s a pretty skilled player,” said Schneider, who had 23 saves. “I played against him in the American (Hockey) League. He’s not your typical third-liner, so he has some skill. When he comes in that way, he looks low blocker. At the last second I saw him open up for high glove and fortunately I got a piece of it with my arm.”
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: St. Louis 5 Calgary 2; Colorado 1 Boston 0; Washington 6 Tampa Bay 5 (SO); Dallas 2 Phoenix 1 (SO); New Jersey 4 Carolina 2; and New York Islanders 2 Minnesota 1.
At Columbus, Ohio, Vancouver tied the game when Dan Hamhuis fired a pass from the left corner near the goal line that was redirected by Hodgson.
“Hammer made a great play coming down the wall and he threw it on the net,” Hodgson said. “(Mikael) Samuelson pulled the guys high and I was just fortunate to get a stick on it.”
Shortly after Columbus’ Grant Clitsome went to the penalty box for a high stick, the Canucks picked up what became the winning goal.
Daniel Sedin tossed the puck from the right boards to Burrows at the net, and he made a quick turnaround while controlling the puck. Steve Mason, who had 22 saves, stopped the first shot but Burrows tapped in the rebound.
“I was just able to get my stick open and Danny made a good play,” Burrows said. “I was trying to take it to the net for a scramble. I got the rebound and I was able to put it in.”
Chris Higgins also scored for the Canucks.
Cam Atkinson scored his first NHL goal and Vinny Prospal also scored for Columbus, which had opened seasons 0-2 twice before in their 11 seasons.
The Blue Jackets were 0 for 5 on the power play and are now 0 for 16 with a man advantage on the season.
Second-year Columbus coach Scott Arniel said his team was tired.
“More than anything that was three games in four nights for us,” he said of his team’s failure to hold the lead in the third period. “We had nothing left in the tank in the third period. That team (Vancouver) had played one game and then flew in here on Saturday, kind of sitting waiting for us.”
The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead late in the second period. After both teams had missed out on numerous scoring chances, the goal came on a relatively innocuous play. Rick Nash chased the puck into the corner, bracketed by defencemen Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa. But Nash flicked the puck along the end boards to Prospal, whose wraparound attempt somehow squirted between the goal post and left skate blade of Schneider.
Columbus had a chance to add to the lead early in the third.
Schneider made several big saves, stopping Jeff Carter early in the game and then blocking a shot by Nash, also in the first period, after he had muscled in on a rush.
The Blue Jackets dominated play in the first period, yet came out tied 1-1. They had 11 of the 13 shots.
Atkinson opened the scoring midway through the period after some down-and-dirty work by Matt Calvert, who had a takeaway in the offensive zone. Derek Mackenzie came up with the puck and, from the right boards, flipped the puck blind to the slot where Atkinson converted.
Columbus had failed to find the net with 22 seconds of a two-man advantage earlier.
Blues 5 Flames 2
At St. Louis, Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist to lead the Blues over Calgary for their first win of the season.
Avalanche 1 Bruins 0
At Boston, Milan Hejduk scored with 12:03 left in the third period and Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots for his fifth NHL shutout, lifting Colorado over Boston.
Capitals 6 Lightning 5 (SO)
At Washington, Matt Hendricks and Alexander Semin scored shootout goals to give the Capitals the victory over Tampa Bay and a bit of revenge for a four-game sweep at the hands of the Lightning in last year’s playoffs.
Stars 2 Coyotes 1 (SO)
At Dallas, Mike Ribeiro beat Phoenix goalie Mike Smith with the shootout winner, giving the Stars the victory.
Devils 4 Hurricanes 2
At Newark, N.J., Ilya Kovalchuk scored the deciding goal and added two assists, and Johan Hedberg made 24 saves in New Jersey’s first victory this season.
Islanders 2 Wild 1
At Uniondale, N.Y., Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen scored first-period goals and the New York Islanders hung on to beat Minnesota.