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Game #21 Colorado Avalanche (12-6-2) @ Vancouver Canucks (10-7-4) – game recap

It was throwback night at Roger’s Arena as the Canucks donned the retro skate uniforms from the 90’s for the first of three times this season. The Canucks will also wear the popular uniforms on January 4th vs. the NY Rangers when they honor the teams from the 90’s and February 10th vs. the Nashville Predators to kick off Sedin week. Same lineup as the one that faced Dallas two nights ago, except Thatcher Demko was in net. Prior to the game, it was learned that Olli Joulevi will be coming to Vancouver to have his lower body injury by Canucks doctors. If it sounds familiar, it was pretty much exactly a year ago that Joulevi had his injured knee examined and he required season-ending surgery shortly after that Joulevi only recently recovered from. This must be so frustrating for the Canucks prospect, who is missing valuable development time constantly rehabbing injuries. Could the Canucks end the home stand with a win? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Avs opened the scoring almost seven minutes into the game as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tipped a shot by Erik Johnson past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko
  • Eleven and a half minutes later, Adam Gaudette whacked home a centering feed by Josh Leivo for a PP marker
  • The Avs retook the lead almost 8 minutes into the 2nd period as Nathan McKinnon blasted a one-timer by Demko for a PP marker
  • A little over three and a half minutes later, Nazim Kadri raced down the wing and beat Demko to the short side
  • Adam Gaudette got the Canucks within 1 with a buzzer beater with 2 seconds left in the period for a PP marker
  •  The Avs added a goal just over 6 minutes into the 3rd period as Andre Burakovsky beat a sprawling Demko with a one-timer
  •  Just over 11 minutes later, the Canucks got one back as Alex Edler was johnny on the spot to snap a rebound past Avs goalie Antoine Bibeau
  • The Canucks tied the game 97 seconds later, as Brock Boeser was johnny on the spot to whack home a juicy rebound
  • The Avs won it 27 seconds into overtime on an end-to-end rush by MacKinnon, who beat Demko short-side
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 18/23 shots
  • Final score: Avs 5 Canucks 4 (OT loss)

My Take:

  • Thatcher Demko, wearing Kay Whitmore’s old #35, was brilliant and not so brilliant. He kept the score close with some big saves in the first. However, he’ll want a couple of the goals tonight back, including the game-winner and the 3rd Avs goal
  • Blocked shots again played a big factor in today’s loss. The Canucks fired 32 shots that either beat Bibeau or that Bibeau stopped. The Avs defenders blocked a further 24 shots, including one by Matt Calvert that should have resulted in play being blown dead as it was obvious the Avs forward needed immediate medical help. In fact, in every loss on this home stand the opponent blocked more than 20 shots on top of the shots that got through to the goalie. Maybe if a few of those shots find their way through the Canucks score  or at least a rebound is created
  • Best Canuck by far was Adam Gaudette. He scored twice and was given lots of ice time in the 3rd period
  • The Canucks won 64% of the draws, led by Bo Horvat, who won 81% of the draws he took. JT Miller (62% success rate, also had a good night in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks had 16 hits, led by Jake Virtanen, who had 5 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 16 shots, led by Tyler Myers, who blocked 4 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks hit the road for a 6 game 13 day road trip that commences Tuesday in Dallas. The injured Antoine Roussel is expected to join the team and could play at some point on the trip. The other injured players (Brandon Sutter, Michael Ferland, Jay Beagle and Tyler Motte) are unlikely to join the team on this road trip. This will be a good chance for the team to bond.
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