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Game #19 Nashville Predators (9-6-3) @ Vancouver Canucks (10-6-3) – game recap

Tonight’s game appeared to be an even matchup on paper. The Canucks and Predators came into this on with near identical records (nine wins each but the Canucks have an extra regulation loss and have played an extra game) and identical goal differentials (+11). The Canucks were in danger of falling out of a playoff position pending results around the league. By the way, at the start of play today, they were in the 1st WC spot and would be facing Edmonton if the playoffs started tonight. Thatcher Demko got the start in net as Jacob Markstrom got a night to reset and recharge after an emotional night on Sunday where he revealed his father had recently passed away from cancer. Jay Beagle was unable to go today so Loui Eriksson drew back into the lineup. Could the Canucks snap the four game losing streak? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring 85 seconds into the 2nd period as Tanner Pearson  wove through a pair of Predators defenders and snapped one past Preds goalie Pekka Rinne
  • Just over 12 minutes later, the Predators tied the game as Calle Jarnkrok was johnny on the spot to deposit a juicy rebound past Thatcher Demko
  • The Canucks retook the lead just over 6 minutes into the 3rd period as birthday boy Elias Pettersson walked into the slot and snapped the puck off the post and in for a PP marker
  • Just under 90 seconds later, Filip Forsberg tipped home a shot to tie the game again
  • Just under 90 seconds after that, Adam Gaudette was johnny on the spot to grab a loose puck and drill it in the back of the net
  • Forty-two seconds later, Pettersson was johnny on the spot to roof home a juicy rebound
  • Just under three minutes later, Forsberg blasted a one-timer past Demko for a PP marker
  • The Canucks added an empty-netter with seven seconds left, as Pearson wheeled and fired the puck the length of the ice. It was airborne almost the entire time.
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 34/37 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 5 Predators 3

My Take:

  • The Canucks  got bad news right off the bat. Brandon Sutter left the game after 3 shifts and 92 seconds with what appeared to be a groin injury. Officially the Canucks are calling it a lower-body injury. Sutter has already had 2 sports hernia surgeries and judging by his reaction, a third could be in his near future. The Canucks will almost certainly need to recall at least one forward, probably a center with Jay Beagle not even able to take either the morning skate or the warm-up. His injury is thankfully not expected to be long-term.
  • Tanner Pearson might have had his best night in a Canucks uniform with a 3-point (2G 1A) effort, 3 shhots on goal and a pair of hits
  • I really liked the effort in a wild third period that had 6 goals between the two teams. The Canucks weren’t going to lose tonight. Adam Gaudette had a pair of points (1G 1A), Pettersson had a pair of goals on his 21st birthday and Thatcher Demko held the fort in net with a 34 save effort when the Preds were pressing late.
  • The power play struck on all three opportunities. The Canucks won 51% of the draws, led by Sutter and Josh Leivo, who won every draw they took. JT Miller (75% success rate), Pettersson (57% success rate) and Bo Horvat (52% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Predators 27-13, led by Jake Virtanen and Tyler Myers, who each had 4 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 17 shots, led by Chris Tanev, who had 4 blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks face off against the Dallas Stars. Expect some lineup changes forced by the injuries suffered tonight.
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