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Game #28 – Toronto Maple Leafs (18-6-2) @ Vancouver Canucks (11-15-2) – game recap

After a solid victory 2 nights ago on the strength of a pair of goals by Jake Virtanen and a goal by Bo Horvat, the Canucks were looking to make it two wins in a row against the best team in the division. This game marked the halfway point of the season for the Canucks. Alex Edler was playing in his 900th career game and was still looking for his 100th career goal. Brock Boeser and Jordie Benn were both looking to get to 100 career assists (both were sitting at 99 career assists). Tyler Myers was a point away from 300 career points. Same lineup as last game.  Same lineup as Thursday. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row for the first time since the end of January when they got their only series sweep vs. Ottawa and then beat Winnipeg on the road in a brief one game stopover on their way to Montreal? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring just over four and a half minutes into the game as Brock Boeser tipped a centering feed from JT Miller past Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson for a PP marker
  • Just over 11 minutes later, John Tavares slapped one short side on Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko
  • The Leafs took the lead three minutes into the 2nd period as Jimmy Vesey roofed a cross-ice feed on Demko
  • The Canucks tied the game just under 9 minutes into the 3rd period on a tip-in by Bo Horvat for a PP marker
  • Forty-two seconds later, Miller was johnny on the spot to whack a rebound past Anderson
  • Just over 5 minutes later, Nils Hoglander unleashed a heavy wrister that banked off the back bar. They had to review the play to see if the puck went in the net
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 37/39 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 4 Leafs 2

My Take:

  • This might have been the best game the Canucks played this season.. The Canucks best players carried the team, the power play was perfect with two goals in two opportunities with the nan advantage and Thatcher Demko stole a game
  • In virtually every statistical category, the Canucks were simply better than the Leafs in this one. They won more faceoffs, they executed on special teams, they outhit the Leafs and they blocked a ton of shots
  • Let’s talk about Thatcher Demko for a second. The Canucks starter has been steadily improving as the season has progressed. Tonight, he kept the score at 2-1 until the Canucks offense kicked in. The Leafs had a 5-0 shot advantage to start the 3rd period. If any of those shots go in, the Canucks probably lose tonight. Demko was in excellent position all night and did a great job of rebound control
  • Brock Boeser was the only Canuck to achieve his milestone, collecting 2 pair of assists to get him to 101 assists in his career. He also scored a goal. Alex Edler had an assist, but did not score his 100th career goal. Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn were both held pointless
  • The Canucks won 56% of the faceoffs, led by JT Miller, who won 78% of the draws he took. Jay Beagle (58% success rate), Bo Horvat (56% success rate), and Nils Hoglander and Brandon Sutter (both 50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Leafs 20-14, led by Jake Virtanen, who had 5 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 22 shots, led by Travis Hamonic, who blocked 4 shots tonight
  • Up next, the Canucks face another stiff test with the Montreal Canadiens rolling into town for a two-game set starting Monday. Ex-teammate Tyler Toffoli has proved to be more than a handful in the five games the two teams have played against each other with 9 goals and 3 assists. Carey Price always seems to have his a-game when facing the Canucks.
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