Zack MacEwen is doing whatever he can to stay with the Vancouver Canucks, and he should see more time Sunday when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit.
MacEwen scored two goals in the Canucks’ 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche at home Friday night, helping his team snap a four-game losing skid.
The 23-year-old from Prince Edward Island, Canada, has found a place in the lineup thanks to injuries to Jay Beagle, Josh Leivo and Michael Ferland.
“I’m trying to … help the team whenever possible,” said MacEwen, who had five goals and 11 points with the AHL Utica Comets before being called up to the bigs in February. “Each game I’m feeling more and more confident.”
MacEwen also logged four hits against the Avalanche, creating significant space for linemates Antoine Roussel and Adam Gaudette. The trio combined for three goals and six points vs. Colorado.
“(He) just powered the team,” Roussel said. “It’s just so much fun to get that vibe, and he gets everybody going, and even the crowd’s into it. It’s so much fun to have that kind of player.”
Having snapped a four-game skid against the Avs, the Canucks (35-26-6, 76 points) will now face the Blue Jackets (32-22-15, 79 points) for the second time in a week. On March 1, they lost 5-3 at Columbus, giving up four third-period goals, including Emil Bemstrom’s winner with 1:37 left.
On Friday, against the Avalanche, the Canucks built on a 4-3 lead instead, scoring three times in the third to end Colorado’s nine-game road winning streak.
“We were clicking. We were creating offense off our forecheck. The chances were there, and we buried them,” MacEwen said. “You need four lines that can contribute.”
While the Canucks are getting the goals — scoring six times for the 10th time this season (tied for the most in the NHL), the Blue Jackets have been struggling to find the back of the net.
They outshot the Edmonton Oilers 46-24 Saturday in a 4-1 loss, their second in a row after losing 3-2 in overtime to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.
Zach Werenski, who leads NHL defensemen with a Blue Jackets-record 20 goals, had eight shots and two blocks in 26:26 of ice time against the Oilers.
He liked the way his team played Saturday, despite the tough outcome.
“It’s a part of hockey,” said Werenski, who will play his 300th NHL game in Vancouver. “We have to find a way to get two points no matter how we play. We can take a lot of positives out of tonight. We just have to look back and tell ourselves, ‘This is how we have to play.'”
The Blue Jackets are 0-3-4 in their last seven road games. They’re 2-6-6 in their last 14 games overall.
Veteran center Riley Nash, who was held to one shot but contributed three hits, said the Blue Jackets are giving 60-minute efforts.
“That’s hockey sometimes,” he said. “Some nights you’re going to get the bounces, some nights you’re not. If you consistently put in an effort like that, you’ll come out on top more nights than not.”
Gustav Nyquist, who scored the lone Blue Jackets goal against the Oilers, and Boone Jenner had six shots each.
“We’re going to keep going,” Nyquist said. “There’s no quitting here. We’re going to keep doing the same things. … (Vancouver is) all our focus is on right now, get two points and go home from Vancouver with three in six.”
Columbus still holds the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, with a two-point cushion.
–Field Level Media