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Game #15 – St. Louis Blues (10-3-3) @ Vancouver Canucks (9-3-3) – game recap

After a successful California road trip that saw the Canucks take 5 of a possible 6 points, the Canucks returned home for a very brief one game homestand against the defending Stanley Cup Champs, the St. Louis Blues, who the Canucks beat in an epic shootout that ended with a sweet goal by Josh Leivo two weeks ago. The Canucks are in the midst of a tough portion of their schedule that sees them face teams currently in playoff spots and plenty of travel. Tonight was the first of five decade celebrations as the Canucks honor the teams/prominent players from each decade era. It was the teams from the 70’s who were honored prior to the game tonight. The Canucks will honor the 80’s teams on December 7th vs. the Buffalo Sabres, the 90’s teams Jan. 4th vs. the NY Rangers, and the teams from the two most recent decades March 6th vs the Colorado Avalanche. February will see a week where the Sedins and players from their era are honored over the three games scheduled that week  (February 10th versus the Nashville Predators with a special game night celebrating the careers of the four legends who have their numbers already hanging in the rafters: Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund and Pavel Bure. On February 12th versus the Chicago Blackhawks, the first Sedin celebration game will take place, presented by Budweiser. It will highlight the twins’ extraordinary on-ice excellence and include an historic pregame ceremony where No. 22 and No. 33 will be raised to the rafters. The week will conclude on February 16th versus the Anaheim Ducks with a family-focused weekend matinee game recognizing the Sedins’ widespread off-ice contributions to the community and the province of British Columbia).Quinn Hughes returned to the lineup after missing a game after banging his knee on the ice in an awkward fall. Ashton Sautner swapped spots with Hughes on the walking wounded list after he left Sunday’s game early after absorbing a heavy hit Saturday that saw him go airborne and hit his face on the glass and the ice. Thankfully Sautner did not sustain a concussion, but no doubt he’ll be sore for the next several days at least. Brendan Dillon did not receive any disciplinary action for what appeared to be a late hit. The rest of the lineup remained the same as Saturday’s win over San Jose, except Jacob Markstrom was in net. This meant Sven Baertschi and Oscar Fantenberg had to wait at least one more game before making their respective season debuts. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blues opened the scoring just over three and a half minutes into the 2nd period as Tyler Bozak snapped a shot top corner on Jacob Markstrom
  • The Canucks tied it almost sixteen and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Quinn Hughes let go of a seeing-eye shot that found the back of the net through a crowd
  • The Blues won it with 92 seconds left in over time as Jaden Schwartz  finished off a tic-tac-goal play o a 3-0 breakaway. Jacob Markstrom broke his stick against the post
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped  25/27 shots
  • Final score: Blues 2 Canucks 1 (OT loss)

My Take:

  • The Canucks outshot the Blues most of the night, and generally controlled the play. Unfortunately, Jordan Binnington was showing why he was the runner up for the Calder trophy with aggressive goaltending and some big saves. The only shot to beat him was on a screen by Elias Pettersson. Jacob Markstrom was just as sharp and both goals he let in were the results of defensive breakdowns (Tyler Bozak was untouched in the slot and the Canucks didn’t bother coming back, making Markstrom face a 3-on-0 breakaway from the center line. He tried valiantly to block the shot, but ultimately he had no chance
  • Maybe Sven Baertschi will finally get the chance to play. Loui Eriksson was benched after not checking Bozak.
  • The power play looks much more effective with Quinn Hughes running it
  • The Canucks won 54% of the draws, led by Bo Horvat, who won 68% of the draws he took. Jay Beagle (50% success rate) also had a good night in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Blues 29-16, led by JT Miller, who had a whopping 8 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 12 shots, led by Chris Tanev, Alex Edler and Adam Gaudette, who each blocked a pair of shots
  • Up next, the Canucks hit the road (again), this time for a quick 2 games in 2 nights trip beginning in Chicago Thursday. The Canucks won 2 of the 3 meetings against Chicago last season, taking 5 of a possible 6 points.
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