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Game #23 – Edmonton Oilers (13-8) @ Vancouver Canucks (8-13-2) – game recap

After winning just once last week and taking just 2 of a possible 8 points against the Jets and Flames, the Canucks opened a mini two-game series vs. the Oilers. The Canucks haven’t faced the Oilers since the season opening series where the two teams split the games with the winner scoring 5 goals in each game. Since then, the Canucks and Oilers have been trending in opposite directions Edmonton is 11-7 since that time and came into tonight riding a three game winning streak. Meanwhile, the floundering  Canucks have lost 4 straight. Take away a 4-game winning streak at the end of January, in which 3 of the wins came against the bottom dwellers of the North Division (Ottawa) and the Canucks are a dismal 3-11-2 since these two teams last met. Further, Edmonton has a +10 goal differential, while the Canucks have allowed 13 more goals than they’ve scored. Edmonton also came into tonight the more rested team, albeit by a day, having played Saturday where the Canucks had to play Sunday. The big key tonight was minimizing the damage of Connor McDavid, who recently became one of the fastest players to score 500 points. Thatcher Demko got the start in net. The rest of the lineup was the same as the one that faced Winnipeg Sunday. Could the Canucks snap the four game losing streak? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring just over a minute into the game as Bo Horvat beat Oilers goalie Mike Smith from a bad angle just above the goal line
  • Seven minutes later, Tyler Myers blasted a one-timer that ticked off the stick of Tyler Ennis and in
  • Just over seven minutes later, Elias Pettersson whacked a backhander by Smith
  • Three and a half minutes later, the Oilers got one back as Dominik Kahuk ripped a shot that squeaked through the pads of Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko and just trickled over the line
  • The Oilers got one back 55 seconds into the 3rd period as Kahun wristed a one-timer by Demko, who had no chance on the play
  • Three and a half minutes later, Connor McDavid rifled a one-timer by Demko for a PP marker
  • Just over nine minutes later, an Adam Larsson shot pinballed off Ennis’s foot and in
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 25/29 shots
  • Final score: Oilers 4 Canucks 3

My Take:

  • As has happened a few times this season, the Canucks came out flying, building a three goal cushion by the game’s 15 minute mark. The Oilers got a late goal in the 1st period. The momentum started shifting at the 15 minute mark of the 2nd period when Antoine Roussel dropped the gloves against a player who didn’t want to fight. Roussel was lucky to just get a 2-minute minor. He easily could have gotten a five-minute major for fighting. I haven’t a clue what the messaging was in the 2nd intermission, but the Oilers’ messaging was evidently clearer or resonated more with Edmonton. The Oilers got within a goal less than a minute into the final period and had the game tied up less than 4 minutes later.
  • Thatcher Demko definitely has a goal or two he’ll want back. His posts saved him a few times tonight from this one turning into a blowout. The first Oilers goal squeaked through his pads and the game winner was a lucky bounce, but Demko was not in the ideal position. You can’t blame fatigue because the schedule has eased and Braden Hotby got the last start, giving Demko 4 days off. Honestly, Demko is kind of at the same point Jacob Markstrom was towards the beginning of his time as a Canuck. I have faith Demko will improve with Ian Clark guiding him
  •  The Canucks took a couple of bad penalties today. Tyler Myers’ infraction (clear interference) might have been the most egregious with the Canucks trying to tie the game and time running out
  • The power play had good movement, but couldn’t get a puck by Smith. The penalty killers allowed the game tying goal.
  • It won’t be too long before we see some pending free agents being moved. The halfway point of the season is in 8 days, trade deadline is in about 6 weeks and the Canucks just aren’t showing any signs they may get on a big roll and at least tie the 4 game winning streak the Canucks had end of January. We may get an idea of hoe secure Benning feels his job security is. At this point, s desperate GM would make a panic move that could severely damage the rebuild.
  • The Canucks won 58% of the faceoffs, led by Jake Virtanen, Tanner Pearson and Adam Gaudette, who all won every draw they took. JT Miller (80% success rate), Brandon Sutter (75% success rate) and Elias Pettersson (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle.
  • The Canucks banged out 19 hits, led by Alex Edler, who had 5 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 15 shots, led by Quinn Hughes, Edler, Horvat and Sutter, who all blocked a pair of shots tonight
  • Up next, the Canucks try to wrap up the home stand with a win. Based on Green’s post-game presser, you may see the lines juggled around and a player or two in the press box. Maybe Jayce Hawyrluk makes his Canucks debut.
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