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Game #24 Vancouver Canucks (12-8-4) @ Washington Capitals (16-4-5) – game recap

After splitting the first two games of the road trip, the Canucks faced a stiff test against the best team in the NHL. The Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup in 2018, are looking like a team that will be tough to beat four times. Adding to the challenge today was the fact that the game started at 12:30pm local time and 9:30AM in Vancouver, a time when the Canucks would be getting to the arena for their warm-ups if the game was at Roger’s arena. Jay Beagle was unfortunately unable to play his former team with the lower body injury nagging him again. Loui Eriksson was back in the lineup as a result. Jacob Markstrom got his 3rd straight start. Could the Canucks overcome the early start time and upset the best team in hockey? Here is today’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Capitals opened the scoring just under two and a half minutes into the game as Jakub Vrana drilled a one-timer over the glove of Jacob Markstrom after the Capitals won an early puck battle in the corner
  • Just over eleven and a half minutes later, the Canucks took advantage of what was essentially a 5-on-2 with a Caps defender breaking his stick. Elias Petterson made no mistake whacking a one-time top corner on Caps goalie Brayden Holtby for a PP marker
  • Bo Horvat scored the shootout winner
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 39/40 shots, including all seven in the shootout
  • Final score: Canucks 2 Capitals 1 (shootout win)

My Take:

  • Right off the bat, the Canucks were down to five defenseman as Alex Edler left the game after playing just three and a quarter minutes with an upper body injury. The Canucks defenders were forced to hang on for dear life as the Caps had several shifts of sustained pressure.  Should Edler not be OK for Monday’s game in Philadelphia, Oscar Fantenberg will finally make his season debut. Ashton Sautner will also likely be called up as extra insurance
  • Jacob Markstrom was excellent again, stopping 39/40 shots, including all seven in the shootout. Markstrom had to endure some emotional moments before the game as the Capitals held their hockey fights cancer day, honoring 6 survivors. No doubt Markstrom had his father on his mind as he watched the pregame ceremony. Great job to use that as motivation.
  • For the 17th time this season, the Canucks gave up the first goal of the game.
  • I really liked the end to end action this game had. Plenty of chances by both sides and some great goaltending to boot]
  • The Canucks won 45% of the draws, led by JT Miller, who won 60% of the draws he took. Bo Horvat (54% success rate) and Brock Boeser (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks had 12 hits, led by Horvat, who had 3 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 8 shots, led by Tyler Myers, who had 2 blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Philadelphia as they play their 4th game of this 6 game eastern swing. Expect a similar lineup to the one that beat Washington today. Edler’s status may force a lineup change on defense for the first time this season. Markstrom deserves to keep playing while he’s hot.
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