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Game #13 – Vancouver Canucks (6-7) @ Montreal Canadiens (7-1-2) – game recap

After a disastrous game last night, that was pretty much over halfway through, the Canucks were looking for a much sharper effort. The big key for tonight was simple play. Last night, time and time again the Canucks tried whipping the puck along the boards, trying to force passes that shouldn’t have been attempted, etc. It was all the issues that have cropped up early in the season.  Jake Virtanen was back in the press box with Antoine Roussel ready to return after missing the game last night with some kind of minor ailment. The Canucks mixed up the lines after last night’s disaster, putting Bo Horvat between JT Miller and Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson between Nils Hoglander and Tanner Pearson. Thatcher Demko got the start in net. Habs defenseman Shea Weber played his 1000th game tonight. Could the Canucks bounce back and split this mini series? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Habs opened the scoring just under 14 minutes into the game as Josh Anderson was johnny on the spot to poke a rebound past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko
  • Just over three minutes later, Anderson tipped a Brett Kulak by Demko
  • The Canucks got one back just under four and a half minutes into the 2nd period as Antoine Roussel was johnny on the spot to stuff a rebound past Habs goalie Jake Allen
  • Just over 8 minutes later, Tyler Toffoli displayed deft hand-to-eye coordination to tip an airborne puck by Demko
  • Just over three minutes later, Toffoli backhanded one far side on Demko
  • The Canucks got one back 53 seconds into the 3rd period as Elias Pettersson sniped one off the post and in for a PP marker
  • The Habs added an empty netter with six seconds left as Jeff Petry tapped it in
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 28/32 shots
  • Final score: Canadiens 5 Canucks 3

My Take:

  • Once again mistakes the Canucks made found their way to the back of the net. On the 1st goal, Josh Anderson was allowed to outmuscle Jalen Chatfield and beat the Canucks rookie to the net. On the second goal, Brandon Sutter had a brutal giveaway in the middle of the ice. Same goes for the third goal. On the Habs 4th goal, JT Miller bobbled the puck, sending Toffoli the other way where he scored on the backhand.
  • Still way too many turnovers. The Canucks coughed up the puck 12 times tonight, leading to one goal and numerous odd-man rushes. Luckily Thatcher Demko was equal to the task tonight
  • Speaking of Demko, he did his part to keep the score close, but he’s not at Jacob Markstrom’s level yet where he can be counted on to steal games like this. Remember, Jacob Markstrom took a few seasons to round into form. Demko has shown the potential to be an elite goalie in this league.
  • Jake Virtanen was back in the press box after his line was the best on the ice last night. I guess Green didn’t want to take Zack MacEwen or Adam Gaudette out of the lineup and Antoine Roussel was ready to return after missing a game
  • Note to the Canucks: don’t surrender the 1st goal. The Canucks are now 0-6 when the opponent scores 1st.
  • Green switched up the top two lines swapping Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson. At even strength, Bo Horvat’s line was on the ice for two goals against. Expect Green to put the Lotto line back together at some point Thursday
  • I thought the Canucks best line again was the 4th line. They have been keeping things simple when on the ice and the rest of the team needs to follow suit
  • The Canucks won 49% of the faceoffs, led by Miller, who won every draw he took. Jay Beagle (88% success rate), Elias Pettersson (50% success rate), Bo Horvat (50% success rate) and Adam Gaudette (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Senators 26-20, led by Tyler Motte, who had 5 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 13 shots, led by Miller, who blocked 3 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, who were leap-frogged by the Canadiens tonight with the win. Toronto has the league’s best PP, operating at an impressive 43% success rate. The Maple Leafs won both games of the season series last year, outscoring the Canucks 8-3. The Canucks have not won a game in Toronto since 2011 and only Alex Edler is left from that team.
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