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Game #20 – Winnipeg Jets (10-6-1) @ Vancouver Canucks (8-12-1) – game recap

After a solid road win to split the four game series against Calgary, the Canucks returned home to take on the Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks debuted their retro jerseys (inspired by the salmon jerseys with navy blue worn between 2001-06). The retro jerseys will be worn for the duration of the home stand that runs through next Thursday. The Canucks are playing just their second game of the season vs. the Jets. They won their only meeting by a convincing 4-1 score. They may luck out again and avoid facing Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is nursing some body soreness likely due to the lack of activity during the 14-day quarantine following the trade from Columbus that sent Patrick Laine and Jack Roslovic the other way. Meanwhile, Olli Juolevi, the Canucks draft pick (5th overall) from the same draft that saw Winnipeg snag Laine and Columbus take Dubois 2nd and 3rd overall, is in his first season in the NHL and is showing his perseverance from rehabbing injuries that derailed a couple of years of development is paying off. Thatcher Demko got the start in net. Same lineup as the last 2 games. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row overall and against the Jets? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Jets opened the scoring just under seven and a half minutes into the game as Mark Scheifele picked off a bobble by Alex Edler at the Canucks blueline, raced down the ice and beat Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko with a backhand deke
  • The Jets added an empty-netter with 77 seconds left in the game as Mason Appleton deftly held off a pursuing Canucks defender to tuck the puck in the back of the net
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 29/30 shots
  • Final score: Jets 2 Canucks 0

My Take:

  • JT Miller was directly responsible for both goals against. On the first goal, he made a bad pass to Alex Edler then didn’t try and hustle back to try and stop Scheifele. Sure Edler was the one who bobbled the bouncing puck, but Miller was moving and therefore more able to get back defensively. On the empty netter, Miller had a shot blocked by Jets defender Neal Pionk and made another half-hearted attempt to get the puck back, giving Pionk a couple of whacks with his stick before he stopped skating
  • The Canucks best player tonight was goalie Thatcher Demko, who made some big saves to keep the score a one-goal deficit. Unfortunately, he got no goal support from his teammates. Demko was sharp all night and in good position to control the rebounds. He had zero chance on the Scheifele goal.
  • Kudos to the Canucks for standing up to Nils Hoglander, who was attacked for throwing a clean hit on Jets defenseman Derek Forbort, who earlier in the game cross-checked the Canucks rookie not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES without a penalty call. Hoglander had 3 shots on goal, 1 hit  and 2 forced turnovers.
  • Boy are the Canucks ever missing shot-blocking machine Chris Tamev. On a given night, Tanev would have blocked the number of shots the Canucks blocked as a team (6) by himself. Shot blocking is an underrated stat. A blocked shot is one less the goalie has to stop and can lead to an odd-man rush going the other way
  • The Canucks won 47% of the draws tonight, led by Tanner Pearson, who won every draw he took tonight. JT Miller (67% success rate) and Bo Horvat (57% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Jets 24-19, led by Jake Virtanen, who banged out 5 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 6 shots, led by Alex Edler, who blocked a pair of shots
  • Up next, the Canucks try to build on tonight’s effort. Yes, they were shutout, but they did a lot of things that on most nights will get you a win.. They outshot the Jets in two of the periods and had their chances to score. Thatcher Demko was matching Laurent Brossoit save for save. They played a phyical game and were frustrating the Jets at times. Don’t be surprised if the same lineups for both teams, including the goalies, take the ice Sunday night. It might be a bit more challenging if Pierre-Luc Dubois is ready to play again.
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