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Game #34 Vancouver Canucks (16-14-4) @ Vegas Golden Knights (18-13-5) – game recap

After a tough loss to the San Jose Sharks last night, the Canucks rolled into Vegas for a key game against the Golden Knights, who held the 2nd WC spot heading into play Sunday. Tyler Motte was activated  from the injured list and Zack MacEwen was sent back to Utica. In the hopes of expediting a move, Sven Baertschi was placed on waivers this morning. There is a chance, knock on wood, that the Canucks will ice a completely healthy lineup in the new year. Alex Edler is getting closer to returning from an upper body injury. Travis Green said in his pregame presser that Edler is skating on his own. Of course, there’s uncertainty with respect to the recovery from concussions for Thatcher Demko and Michael Ferland. Other than the return of Motte, the rest of the lineup was the same as last night. Jacob Markstrom was back between the pipes. Could the Canucks bounce back from last night with a win tonight? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Golden Knights opened the scoring just under two and a half minutes into the game on a slapper by Nick Holden that deflected in off a Canucks stick
  • A hundred and one seconds later, the Canucks tied it as Elias Pettersson dove and shoveled the puck past Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
  • Just over five and a half minutes later, Valentin Zykov was johnny on the spot to jam a rebound past Jacob Markstrom for a PP marker
  • The Golden Knights added a goal just under five minutes into the 3rd period as Jonathan Marchessault snapped a one-timer by Markstrom
  • Four and a half minutes later, Mark Stone raced down the wing and ripped one home top corner
  • The Canucks got one back just over five minutes into the 3rd period as Brock Boeser snapped one home from in tight
  • Just over five and a half minutes later, Max Pacioretty raced in on a clear-cut breakaway and beat Markstrom with a backhander spelling the end of the night for the Canucks goalie
  • Just over six and a half minutes later, Jake Virtanen scored for the second straight game from a sharp angle for a PP marker
  • Almost two minutes later, Pacioretty beat Michael Dipietro far side for a PP marker
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 34/39 shots and Michael Dipietro turned aside 6/7 shots
  • Final score: Golden Knights 6 Canucks 3

My Take:

  • This was one of the uglier games the Canucks played this season. The Canucks are in the midst of a 5 games in 8 nights stretch and it showed tonight. The whole team looked off, except maybe Tyler Motte, who was playing for the first time in over a month. Jacob Markstrom wasn’t as sharp and Travis Green made the right decision to pull him. However, I would have let Dipietro start the 3rd period. Markstrom was probably the least of the Canucks problems tonight. The team hung him out to dry and most of the goals were because the Golden Knights were given far too much space, and the Canucks were unable to physically handle the Vegas players
  • Tyler Motte was probably the best Canuck, throwing 11 hits, blocking a pair of shots and nearly scoring. He played 17:11 in his first game back.
  • One area the Canucks did well was faceoffs, winning 57% of the draws tonight, led by Antoine Roussel, who won every draw he took. JT Miller (71% success rate), Brandon Sutter (60% success rate), Jay Beagle (59% success rate) and Bo Horvat (52% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks banged out 27 hits, led by Motte’s 11 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 18 shots, led by Motte, Tanner Pearson, Jordie Benn, Troy Stetcher and Tyler Myers, who all blocked a pair of shots
  • The good news is the Canucks won’t have to wait long for the rematch. The same two teams meet at Roger’s arena on Thursday.
  • Up next, the Canucks faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens, who are currently 3rd in the Atlantic division with 36 points. The Habs won both games of the season series last year, outscoring the Canucks 5-2.
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