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Game #20 Dallas Stars (10-8-2) @ Vancouver Canucks (10-7-3) – game recap

The Canucks are pretty much at the quarter mark of their 50th season tonight as they played game #20 of the schedule. Lots of positives early on (the play of Quinn Hughes, goaltending and the offence). At the start of play tonight, the Canucks were 3rd in the Pacific division and were tied with Calgary with 10 wins, but were ranked higher because Calgary has 2 more regulation losses. Tonight, the Canucks faced off against a Dallas Stars team that is one point back of the Winnipeg Jets, who are in the 2nd WC spot heading into play tonight. As expected, Brandon Sutter was placed on the IR with a groin strain. He’ll be revaluated in a week, but will likely miss the upcoming road trip that begins next Tuesday in Dallas and goes until the end of the month. Jay Beagle missed his second straight game with a lower body injury, believed to be a hip pointer or lower back strain. Tyler Graovac, who was recalled along with Zack MacEwen,  drew into the lineup on the 4th line. Bo Horvat, who left the morning skate early, was ok to play tonight (thank god because it would have left the Canucks in a bind at center). Jacob Markstrom got the start in net. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Stars opened the scoring almost 4 minutes into the game as Justin Dowling outwaited Jacob Markstrom with a patient toe drag before snapping the puck home
  • The Stars added a goal just over four minutes into the 2nd period as Blake Comeau deftly stepped around Troy Stetcher and poked a backhander home while falling to the ice
  • Seventy-eight seconds later, Jake Virtanen was johnny on the spot to snap a rebound past Stars goalie Anton Khudobin
  • Just over six minutes later, the Canucks tied the game on a seeing-eye shot through a crowd by Troy Stetcher that eluded Khudobin
  • Seven minutes later, the Stars retook the lead as Tyler Seguin finished off an odd-man rush the other way after a Jordie Benn shot was blocked
  • The Stars put the game away with under three minutes left in the game as Alexander Radulov again deked around Stetcher and snapped the puck between Markstrom’s pads
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 25/29 shots
  • Final score: Stars 4 Canucks 2

My Take:

  • There were two big reasons why the Stars won this game: turnovers and blocked shots. The Stars came into this one on a 5-0-1 streak and you don’t want to give the Stars any gifts by turning the puck over. The Canucks did this 8 times during the game and got burned on three of the turnovers (one Stars goal was the direct result of a blocked shot). Speaking of blocked shots, Stars goalie Anton Khudobin improved his record against the Canucks to 4-2-2 with a 32 save effort. He also got a lot of help from Dallas defenders, who blocked a further 20 shots. Sound familiar? The Devils blocked 23 shots just 4 days ago. The Canucks aren’t going to score five goals every night, especially as the season wears on and the teams are fighting to stay in the playoffs. The Canucks have to find ways to win these 2-1, 3-2 games.
  • It wasn’t the best night for Stetcher who got burned on two of the Stars goals as Blake Comeau and Alexander Radulov got around the Canucks defender before depositing the puck past Markstrom
  • Jacob Markstrom wasn’t at his sharpest tonight. He gave up 4 goals on 29 shots. Granted he’s had a lot on his mind with the passing of his father and he was battling some soreness just prior to his absence from the team. Traditionally, November hasn’t been his best month. Markstrom is now 0-3-2 in 5 starts this month
  • The Canucks were 0-2 on the PP tonight , getting 4 shots through on the 2 chances combined. The Canucks killed all three PP chances by the Stars, limiting the potent Stars PP to just a single shot
  • The Canucks had an off-night in the faceoff circle (no surprise with Sutter and Beagle, two of the better centers on the team injured), winning 40% of the draws tonight, led by Tyler Graovac, who won 67% of his draws tonight. Elias Pettersson (55% success rate) also had a good night in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Stars 19-15, led by Alex Edler, who had 5 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 9 shots, led by Edler who had 3 blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks wrap up the homestand taking on the injury-riddled Colorado Avalanche, who’s top 2 goalies are injured. The Canucks will be wearing their retro skate jersey that they wore from 1989-1997. The Canucks started using the skate logo in 1985, but the coloring around the trim of the jersey was different and the home jersey was yellow instead of white between 1985 and 1989.
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