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Game #16 Vancouver Canucks (6-10) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (10-2-1) – game recap

The Canucks wrapped up the road trip looking to snap a four-game losing streak in which the Canucks have never led. Things started boiling over in the 3rd period Saturday when Braden Holtby gave JT Miller an earful about lack of effort on the 4th Leafs goal. The Canucks got bad news to start the week with Tyler Motte being placed on LTIR with a lower body injury that could take weeks to heal. Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette got in the lineup. Loui Eriksson was back in the press box. Olli Juolevi got back in the lineup after a dreadful couple of games for Jalen Chatfield. Braden Holtby got a second straight start for the first time this season. Could the Canucks right the ship after the first practice in 13 days yesterday? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Leafs opened the scoring just over six and a half minutes into the game as Morgan Reilly was johnny on the spot to snipe a loose puck past Canucks goalie Braden Holtby
  • The  Canucks tied the game halfway through the 2nd period as Elias Pettersson ripped a wrister past Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson
  • The Leafs retook the lead almost nine and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Auston Matthews whacked a one-timer by Holtby. It was Matthews’ 300th career point and extended his goal-scoring streak to 8 games. The record for longest goal streak was by Punch Broadbent (16 games spanning Christmas Eve 1921 – February 15, 1922)
  • Eleven seconds later, Quinn Hughes was stripped of the puck by Ilya Mikheyev, who centered the puck to Alexander Kerfoot, who whipped it by Holtby
  • Braden Holtby stopped 16/19 shots
  • Final score: Maple Leafs 3 Canucks 1

My Take:

  • For 49 minutes, it looked like a day of practice did wonders for the Canucks. They outplayed the Leafs through the first 2 periods, outshooting the hosts 27-7 through 2 periods. It was only the brick wall that is Frederik Anderson that limited the Canucks to a single goal. What was most encouraging about tonight was the response after a strong first period, especially since the Leafs went into the 1st intermission with a 1-0 lead. The Canucks kept the pressure up in the 2nd period and managed to tie the game. Unfortunately, a couple of lapses led to an insurmountable 3-1 lead.
  • Braden Holtby was sharp tonight – no chance on any of the three goals. I especially liked the sequence just prior to the 2nd Leafs goal where he made a series of sharp pad saves. It looked like his session with Ian Clark yesterday paid dividends tonight.
  • The Canucks penalty killing unit did well to hold the Leafs to 1 shot on their two PP attempts
  • Jake Virtanen did not take advantage of the opportunity handed to him again. He was -1 tonight with a pair of shots and three hits
  • The rookies Olli Joulevi and Justin Bailey were bot noticeable and received praise from Travis Green after the game. For Joulevi, it was about making smart decision plays and playing a simple game. Bailey used his speed to his advantage tonight
  • The power play looked sharper than it has been with puck movement and getting shots through. They were 1-5 on the night.
  • The Canucks won half the draws tonight, led by Jay Beagle and Elias Pettersson, who both won 57% of the draws they took. Bo Horvat (56% success rate) also had a good night in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Leafs 31-21, led by Alex Edler, who banged out 7 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 8 shots led by Edler, who blocked 3 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks head home, and after a couple of much-needed days off, they’ll open a crucial 4-game series, three of which are at home against the Calgary Flames. They’ll need to find a way to solve ex-teammate Jacob Markstrom, who stoned his former team first weekend of the season. Expect Thatcher Demko to get the start Thursday.
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