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Game #33 – Vancouver Canucks (15-16-2) @ Ottawa Senators (10-20-3) – game recap

After eking out a win in overtime two nights ago, the Canucks were looking for their 5th straight win over the Senators. Thatcher Demko, who started his career-high seventh straight game, has been playing phenomenal this month with a league-leading 6 wins and .953 save%. Tyler Motte returned to the lineup after missing the last 6 weeks to a suspected high ankle sprain. The Canucks claimed Jimmy Vesey off waivers. You have to wonder of the seriousness of the injury to Antoine Roussel and/or Jay Beagle. Vesey’s been scoring at about the same rate as Jake Virtanen, who has been playing up and down the lineup, most recently alongside Tanner Pearson and Bo Horvat. He did not play tonight due to visa issues. Loui Eriksson and Marc Michelis were both loaned to the taxi squad. Jack Rathbone was loaned to Manitoba to get some game action. Could the Canucks make it three straight wins? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring two and a half minutes into the game as Brock Boeser whipped a cross-ice feed past Senators goalie Joey Daccord
  • Just under 4 minutes later,  Bo Horvat whipped a cross-ice feed by Daccord
  • The Senators got one back back 3 minutes into the 2nd period as Ryan Dzingel was johnny on the spot to whack a rebound past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko
  • Daccord left the game just over 5 minutes into the 3rd period with what appeared to be a knee or groin injury stretching out to get from one side of the net to the other
  • The Senators tied the game 5 and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Josh Norris rang one off the post and in
  • Adam Gaudette scored the only goal in the shootout
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 34/36 shots, including all 4 in the shootout
  • Final score: Canucks 3 Senators 2 (shootout win)

My Take:

  • :The Canucks escaped Ottawa with a pair of wins they probably didn’t deserve. In both games, they jumped out to 2-0 leads in the 1st period, only to see Ottawa peck away at the lead and tie the game in the 3rd period. On Monday, they tied the game late. Tonight, they rallied around injured goalie Joey Daccord to tie the game. Ottawa nearly won it in overtime when Brady Tkachuk almost scored a buzzer beater with under 5 seconds left in the game. He didn’t realize he had time to get set. Turnovers were a big factor in both wins.
  • Ian Clark gets full credit for tonight’s win. He gave Adam Gaudette some advice ice on possible shootout moves. His bigger success is the turnaround of Thatcher Demko, who lost his first three starts of the season, allowing a combined 16 goals on 119 shots for a save% south of 0.900. He’s caught fire in March with 6 wins in 7 starts, including his first regular season shutout vs. Winnipeg. Besides riding the hot hand, the Canucks have gone with Demko because Braden Holtby is still trying to find his game. With back-to-back starts on the weekend, Holtby will get one of those games.
  • In his first game back from injury, Motte had 2 shots on goal, 4 hits, 4 blocked shots and a giveaway in 20 minutes of ice time
  • The Canucks won 60% of the draws, led by Jake Virtanen who won every draw he took. Bo Horvat (63% success rate), Brandon Sutter (57% success rate) and JT Miller and Adam Gaudette (both 50% success rates) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks banged out 30 hits, led by Zack MacEwen, who had 5 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 21 shots, led by Travis Hamonic, who blocked 6 shots tonight
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Montreal for a crucial back-to-back set vs. the Habs starting Friday. After tonight’s win and the Habs’ OT Loss to Winnipeg tonight, the Canucks are just two points back of Montreal for the 4th and final playoff spot. However, Montreal still has 4 games in hand on the Canucks. Calgary, who the Canucks face Monday, is just a point back of Vancouver with three games in hand. Vesey should make his Canucks debut Friday. Expect Demko to get the start Friday.
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