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Game #31 Toronto Maple Leafs (15-13-4) @ Vancouver Canucks (15-12-4) – game recap

After beating their expansion cousins, the Canucks played what may be the most anticipated game of the season against an Eastern Conference opponent. The Toronto Maple Leafs were in town for their annual visit to BC. Tonight was a good test for the Canucks, who were facing a Maple Leafs team who are currently out of a playoff spot.Last season, the two teams split the season series, with the home team winning both games. Jacob Markstrom was back in net after returning from his father’s memorial in Sweden. Michael Dipietro was sent back down to Utica. Jordie Benn played after missing practice yesterday with an illness. Brandon Sutter missed his 12th straight game as he continues to recover from a groin strain. He should play either Thursday vs. Carolina or in San Jose on Saturday. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Maple Leafs opened the scoring just under two minutes into the 2nd period as Auston Matthews snapped a centering feed past Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • The Maple Leafs added a goal with twenty seconds left in the 2nd period on a tip-in by John Tavares on a point shot by Cody Ceci
  • The Canucks got one back just over 11 minutes into the 3rd period as Josh Leivo jammed one home in a goal mouth scramble
  • Almost 4 minutes later, Tavares beat Markstrom far side. It’s one the Canucks goalie will want back
  • Three and a half minutes later, Zach Hyman stole the puck from Quinn Hughes and stuffed it into the empty net
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 22/25 shots
  • Final score: Maple Leafs 4 Canucks 1

My Take:

  • This one was put out of reach on a bad goal given up at a bad time by Jacob Markstrom. However, Markstrom is not the reason the Canucks lost. Rather, Frederick Andersen bailed out the Leafs defense time and time again with big saves. The Leafs goalie was aggressive and at the top of his crease all night, taking away any net that might have been exposed. The only goal to beat him came on a goalmouth scramble that Josh Leivo jammed home. The Leafs goals were scored on a centering feed where Markstrom had no chance, a sweet tip-in by Tavares and a perfect hard shot by Tavares.
  • Another key area that the Leafs won was in the faceoff circle, where they won 55% of the draws. Jay Beagle led the Canucks with an 86% success rate. JT Miller also had a good night in the faceoff circle with a 50% success rate.
  • The Canucks outhit the Leafs 18-8, led by Michael Ferland, who had 3 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 16 shots, led by Elias Pettersson, who had 3 blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks wrap up the home stand with a tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes won both games of the season series last year, outscoring the Canucks 10-5. Hopefully Sutter is back for this one.
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