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Game #77 Anaheim Ducks (32-36-10) @ Vancouver Canucks (32-35-10) – game recap

The Canucks take on the Anaheim Ducks for the final time this season in a tilt against two equally bad teams. The Canucks came into tonight’s tilt with one more win than the Ducks and Anaheim had an extra regulation loss. The records matter at the end because one of these teams will have slightly better odds of winning the draft lottery (we’re talking a couple of percentage points). Not much to play for really with the Canucks expected to be officially eliminated from playoff contention by the weekend. Recent college free agent signing Josh Teves made his NHL debut. Quinn Hughes is expected to make his debut either Thursday vs. LA or Saturday vs. Dallas. He has looked very close to 100% healthy in the videos posted of him skating at the morning skate or on his own. Nikolay Goldobin and Derrick Pouliot were right back in the press box after a less than impressive efforts Sunday vs. Columbus. Both players are likely gone in the off-season. Tyler Motte was out with an upper body injury. He may be done for the year. Former Canuck Ryan Kesler was not in the line up due to chronic hip issues. Unfortunately, the ex-Canuck’s playing days may be over. The Ducks are probably secretly hoping he either retires or goes on LTIR next season. Jacob Markstrom was back in net. It will be interesting to see how many of the remaining 6 games Thatcher Demko plays. Could the Canucks snare some Ducks and get back on track after a tough weekend? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Ducks opened the scoring 9:09 into the 1st period as Sam Steel got behind the Canucks defense and beat Jacob Markstrom between the pads
  • Almost four minutes later, a Jake Virtanen centering feed banked in off a Cam Fowler’s skate
  • The Canucks took the lead with a minute left in the 1st period as Alex Edler unleashed a one-timer that banked in off Corey Perry
  • The Ducks tied the game 12:16 into the 2nd period as Steel scored his second of the game, pouncing on a loose puck at the side of the net and whipping it past Markstrom
  • Steel completed the hat trick with a minute left in the 2nd period, backhanding the puck upstairs on a penalty shot
  • The Ducks added to the lead 7:44 into the 3rd period as Rickard Rakell snapped a shot home from the left faceoff circle for a power play marker
  • Just over three and a half minutes later, Elias Pettersson mishandled a pass to him in the slot and Kiefer Sherwood beat Markstrom upstairs
  • Just over two minutes later, Josh Leivo grabbed a loose puck and snapped one upstairs on John Gibson
  • Fifty-six seconds later, Tanner Pearson was johnny on the spot to put a rebound home
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 19 of 24 shots
  • Final score: Ducks 5 Canucks 4

My Take:

  • There was a scary moment with ninety seconds left in the game as Ducks defender Josh Manson crumbled to the ice after crashing into Tanner Pearson behind the Ducks net. He left the ice minutes later with assistance from a Ducks trainer and a teammate. The injury looked ugly, hopefully it wasn’t as bad as it looked.
  • For the second time in a month, the Canucks got burned by one player. A month ago, Brad Richardson scored 4 times. Tonight, Sam Steel had a hat trick before the second period was over.
  • Jacob Markstrom appears to be tiring after playing so many games this season.  You can hardly blame him. He has faced the most shots in the league and kept the Canucks in games they had n business being in. Tonight five pucks got by him and he didn’t appear to be sharp. I really want to see Thatcher Demko play at least 2 or 3 of the remaining games. He needs the experience and the Canucks know what they have in Marky.
  • Josh Teves had a decent night in his first NHL game, throwing 4 hits, blocking a shot and forcing a turnover in 13:40 of ice time. On the downside, he was -1 and was in the penalty box for the Ducks power play goal
  • Troy Stetcher was the best Canuck on the ice tonight. He had a pair of assists, 2 shots on goal, 2 blocked shots and a forced turnover. He was +4 on the night.
  • I liked the Canucks effort in the 3rd period. They could have given up after the Ducks tallied for the 5th time. Instead, they kept pressing, got within one with five and a half minutes later. They fell short in the end, but if they have that kind of drive, they’ll win more often than not next season.
  • The Canucks won 56% of the faceoffs, led by Bo Horvat, who won 68% of the draws he took. Elias Pettersson (60% success rate) and Jay Beagle (55% success rate), also had strong nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Ducks 36-18 in a physical affair, led by Luke Schenn who had 7 hits, two nights after breaking the Canucks single game record with a whopping 12 hits against the Blue Jackets.
  • The Canucks blocked 11 shots, led by Stetcher with 2 blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks face off against the LA Kings. Quinn Hughes may make his long-awaited NHL debut in this one.It will be interesting to see which of Tim Schaller and Nikolay Goldobin Travis Green opts to put in the lineup on Thursday. Schaller played just 8:53, but he got an assist and was +1 today.
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