Columbus Blue Jackets\' Rick Nash celebrates his goal. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
They weren't prepared for former teammate Anson Carter, who had a goal and an assist in the first period and the Columbus Blue Jackets handed the Canucks their third straight loss, 3-2 on Friday night. "There was a lack of discipline," Vigneault said. "They had five power play opportunities in the first period. Obviously we didn't help ourselves."
Aaron Johnson and Rick Nash also scored for Columbus, which had lost three of its last four games. Ron Hainsey added two assists.
"No one wants to spend Christmas Eve after a loss," said Carter, signed from Vancouver in the off-season. "Tonight we were ready to battle."
Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver, losers of six in a row on the road. The Canucks have scored eight goals in those six losses.
With Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo pulled for an extra attacker, Daniel Sedin muscled himself free and redirected a shot to pull the Canucks within 3-2 with 1:15 remaining.
"I told the players at the start that Vancouver is a real physical club," Columbus coach Kevin Hitchcock said. "You have to earn it."
Just as it happened a day earlier in a 2-0 loss at Boston, the Canucks' early penalties - which included two bench minors - proved costly and they quickly fell behind. Luongo allowed two goals on the first four shots he faced.
Johnson scored his first goal of the season just 10 seconds after Columbus' second power play expired. He fired a point shot through traffic at 6:36 to make it 1-0 with teammate Alexander Svitov screening Luongo.
The Blue Jackets scored on their next man-advantage chance when Carter - coasting alone in the slot - snapped home a deflected puck off Svitov's skate to give Columbus a 2-0 lead.
"We had a great effort tonight and showed a lot of poise and composure," said Carter, who has 14 points in his last 13 games.
Vancouver had three consecutive power plays to start the second period, and scored on the second one.
Columbus' starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire left the game early in that stretch, injuring his left hamstring while making a save. Leclaire had missed the last five games with a sprained left knee.
Bieksa scored his eighth goal of the season on the first shot against Leclaire's replacement, Fredrik Norrena - a slap shot from the high slot at 2:47 to make it 2-1.
"Right now Bieksa's got eight goals and six of our other forwards have eight goals combined," said a frustrated Vigneault.
The Canucks went 1-of-5 on power-play opportunities in the second period.
In the first minute of the third period, Norrena made a sterling, lunging save on a shot by Sedin, who appeared to have an open goal. Norrena had 21 saves in the game.
Later in the period, Nash skated the length of the ice down the right wing and snapped a low shot past Luongo at 14:39.
"It's nice to score on the best goalies," said Nash of his 13th of the campaign to give Columbus a 3-1 lead.
Notes: Leclaire stopped all 10 shots he faced. . . .Vancouver entered having scored the fewest goals in the league (78). . . . Columbus won its 100th home game. . . . Canucks LW Markus Naslund had an assist and has 34 points in 22 career games against Columbus.