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Game #12 – Vancouver Canucks (6-6) @ Montreal Canadiens (6-1-2) – game recap

After a solid week where the Canucks outscored the Senators 16-3, and won in Winnipeg for the first time since 1996, the Canucks were looking to snap another lengthy streak. They have not won in Montreal since 2001. Just two weeks ago, the Habs outplayed the Canucks in Vancouver and ex-teammate Tyler Toffoli torched his former teammates for 7 points, including a hat trick. The Canucks had to do it tonight without Antoine Roussel, who was either out with s minor injury or grieving the loss of his agent, who passed away. Jake Virtanen got back in the lineup in his place. Braden Holtby was between the pipes. Could the Canucks make it four wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Habs opened the scoring a minute into the game as Nick Suzuki whacked a one-timer past Canucks goalie Braden Holtby
  • Just over 5 minutes later, Artturi Lehkonen stole the puck off Adam Gaudette and backhanded one by Holtby for a shorthanded marker
  • Just over two minutes later, Gaudette beat Habs goalie Carey Price with a knuckle puck
  • Just over 8 minutes later, Jeff Petry wired one blocker side on Holtby
  • The Habs added a goal just over 7 minutes into the 2nd period as Brendan Gallagher beat Holtby with a backhand deke
  • Eighty-five seconds later, Petry buried a centering feed past Holtby
  • Five and a half minutes later, Tyler Toffoli one-timed one by Holtby for a PP marker
  • The Canucks got one back just under 12 minutes into the 3rd period as Jay Beagle wired a centering feed over the glove of Price
  • Braden Holtby stopped 34/40 shots
  • Final score: Canadiens 6 Canucks 2

My Take: 

  • Turnovers continued to plague the Canucks. On the Habs second goal, Adam Gaudette was stripped of the puck after another drop pass with the man advantage (teams are coming wise to this tactic on the PP). Eight minutes later, Quinn Hughes’ attempt to ring the puck around the board was intercepted. On the Habs’ third goal, Jalen Chatfield had an attempted backhand pass intercepted by Gallagher who got a breakaway and scored. Less than two minutes later, JT Miller’s pass was intercepted, leading to an odd-man rush and a goal. Good teams like Montreal will kill you if you turn the puck over. Is it fatigue? Is it lack of practice time? Are some players playing through minor injuries? Whatever the reason, this needs to be addressed sooner than later
  • Braden Holtby had a rough game again, unable to make the extra save. The Canucks won’t win many games, especially as the season progresses and teams start actually playing defense, spotting the opponent 6 goals. Sure, his defense didn’t help him by turning the puck over and forcing Holtby to face breakaways and odd-man rushes, but he has to find a way to stop those shot. None of the goals were tipped, they were either one-timed or unscreened shots.
  • Jake Virtanen was noticeable and his line with Tyler Motte and Adam Gaudette. Virtanen banged out 5 hits and had three shots on goal. He even moved up in the lineup.
  • There was nearly a scary moment in the 3rd period when Nate Schmidt had an awkward collision. He was slow to get up, but finished his shift and the game.
  • The Lotto line was not money tonight. The trio were -3 on the night and JT Miller was responsible for three of the giveaways
  • The Canucks won 49% of the draws, led by Miller, who won every draw he took. Jay Beagle (56% success rate), Brandon Sutter (50% success rate), Elias Pettersson (50% success rate) and Adam Gaudette (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Habs, led by Motte and Tanner Pearson, who both banged out 7 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 11 shots, led by Tyler Myers and Gaudette, who both blocked a pair of shots
  • Up next, the Canucks try to split the mini series with a win tomorrow. Expect Thatcher Demko to get back in net and potentially Antoine Roussel back in the lineup, if healthy. Olli Joulevi might get another chance too after Chatfield had a rough night
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