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Game #30 – Buffalo Sabres (13-11-6) @ Vancouver Canucks (15-11-4) – game recap

It was 80’s day at Roger’s arena with the teams/players from the 80’s being honored. The 80’s represented the 1st time the Canucks made the Stanley Cup finals, where they were beaten by the powerhouse NY Islanders, featuring Mike Bossy, Billy Smith and Sutter brothers Brent and Duane. The Canucks team that year featured Marc Crawford, Richard Brodeur, Garth Butcher, Darcy Rota, Stan Smyl and Tiger Williams. Vancouver made the playoffs in 7 of the 10 seasons in the 80’s, missing the postseason in 1985, 1987 and 1988. The Canucks wore the flying V jerseys in warm-ups and the skate jersey for the second time this season. The Canucks welcomed Jay Beagle and Michael Ferland back to the lineup with Loui Eriksson taking a seat in the press box and Zack MacEwen and Nikolay Goldobin both heading back to Utica. Jacob Markstrom was also back from Sweden after attending his father’s memorial this week and backed up Thatcher Demko today. Could the Canucks beat their expansion cousins and get back into a wild card spot? Here is today’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring just under thirteen minutes into the game on a partial breakaway. He snapped it home far side on Sabres goalie Carter Hutton
  • The Canucks added a goal just over three minutes into the 2nd period as Antoine Roussel was johnny on the spot to jam a rebound past Hutton
  • The Sabres got one back just under two and a half minutes later as Kyle Okposo slid a centering feed through the five hole of Thatcher Demko
  • Sixty-four seconds later, Rasmus Ristolainen snapped a seeing-eye shot that found the back of the net through a crowd
  • Just under 11 minutes later, Leivo beat Hutton on the short side, top shelf
  • Just over two minutes later, Victor Olofsson snapped a centering feed past Demko for a PP marker
  • The Canucks retook the lead just under 5 minutes into the 3rd period on Tyler Myers’ first as a Canuck finishing off a 2-on-1 break with JT Miller for a shorthanded marker
  • Just under 6 minutes later, Roussel was johnny on the spot to knock home a juicy rebound
  • Eighty-five seconds later, a Zemgus Girgensons shot ticked off a Canuck stick and over Demko’s shoulder
  • Just under 7 minutes later, the Sabres tied the game with the extra attacker. Marcus Johansson unleashed a howitzer from the point for the goal
  • The Canucks won it in overtime with 99 seconds left as JT Miller slapped a shot top corner for a PP marker
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 23/28 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 6 Sabres 5 (OT Win)

My Take:

  • On 80’s night, the fans were treated to a shootout with 11 goals between the two teams. After the Canucks went into the 1st intermission with a 1-0 lead, the game really opened up for the final two periods of regulation with 9 goals between the two teams in the 2nd and 3rd periods combined
  • Thatcher Demko and Carter Hutton were both fighting the puck. Demko stopped 23/28 shots. He had tough luck on a few of the goals that deflected off sticks. Other goals were the result of the Canucks inability to get a clear. The Sabres had several lengthy shifts in the Canucks zone
  • The reffing left something to be desired. There were several penalties that should have been called. Bo Horvat took a clear shot to the head (no call and Horvat missed the final three minutes of the 3rd period plus overtime undergoing concussion testing), Elias Pettersson was shoved into the net (no call). The Sabres benefited from weak calls that went their way. There was a delayed penalty on Ristolainen’s goal. A tired Jay Beagle tripped a Sabre just prior to the Olofsson knotting the game at 3 late in the 2nd period.
  • One big reason why the Canucks won was because they dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 64% of the draws, led by Jake Virtanen and Tanner Pearson, who won every draw they took. JT Miller (78% success rate, Elias Pettersson, 67% success rate, Bo Horvat (65% success rate) and Jay Beagle (60% success rate) also had good days in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Sabres 29-7, led by Michael Ferland, who banged out 6 hits in his return to the lineup
  • The Canucks blocked 15 shots, led by Chris Tanev, who blocked 4 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two teams split the season series last year with the home team winning both games. Expect Jacob Markstrom to be back in net and Brandon Sutter should be ready to return to the lineup as well. It could be the end of Loui Eriksson in a Canucks uniform.
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