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Game #36 Vegas Golden Knights (19-13-3) @ Vancouver Canucks (17-15-4) – game recap

After a dreadful performance Sunday against the Golden Knights, the Canucks were looking to exact some sweet revenge and snap a three game losing streak. The Canucks will also need to beat Marc-Andre Fleury, who has not lost to the Canucks in regulation in over a decade. Wednesday’s practice featured some unorthodox drills aimed at working on skills they have struggled with. The defensemen were tasked to getting the puck past a mannequin, while the forwards worked on finding the teammate driving to the net. Alex Edler joined his teammates in the optional skate this morning. Jacob Markstrom, who skipped practice yesterday and the optional morning skate, got the nod in net tonight. Brandon Sutter is out again, apparently not his groin, with Tim Schaller sliding into his spot. Canucks trainer Jon Sanderson worked his 1500th NHL game tonight. Could the Canucks exorcise the curse from MAF and snap the three game losing streak and end the Golden Knights three game winning streak? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring almost three minutes into the game as Antoine Roussel was johnny on the spot to jam a rebound into the gaping net
  • Just over four minutes later, Tanner Pearson whacked home rebound past Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for a PP marker
  • Almost seven minutes later, the Golden Knights got one back as Jonathan Marchessault was johnny on the spot to tip a rebound past Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • Just under five and a half minutes later, Elias Petterson tipped home a rebound
  • The Golden Knights got one back 11 minutes into the 2nd period as Reilly Smith finished off a pretty tic-tac-goal play
  • Just over a minute later, Nick Holden hammered home a point shot through a crowd
  • The Canucks retook the lead just over 9 minutes into the 3rd period as Elias Pettersson finished off a give-and-go with Brock Boeser with such a hard shot that the puck got stuck in the back of the net
  • Just under six and a half minutes later, a wide open Mark Stone wired a centering feed over the glove of Markstrom
  • The Canucks won it 90 seconds into overtime as Chris Tanev got behind the Golden Knight’s defense and beat Fleury going wide
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 39/43 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 5 Golden Knights 4 (OT Win)

My Take:

  • If the Canucks ever needed a win, it was tonight. With the calls on social media calling for one or both of Travis Green and Jim Benning to be fired getting louder with each mounting loss, the Canucks came out of the gate quickly, building a 3-1 lead after 1 period. Vegas tied things up with two quick strikes in just over a minute. The Canucks retook the lead, only to see the Golden Knights knot the game late in the 3rd. You could see the whole bench breathe a sigh of relief when Tanev scored the winner early in OT.
  • The Canucks got bad news late in the 2nd period when Josh Leivo absorbed a bad hit from behind. The Canucks winger slammed his stick against the boards in frustration. He left the game with a lower body injury and did not return. After the game, Green speculated that the news was not going to be good when he gets further examination in the coming days. Leivo had been one of the best Canucks in this recent team slump. Loui Eriksson may be getting another opportunity to play, especially if Sutter can’t go Saturday and/or Monday.
  • Two trends continued tonight that speak to the fragility of the team. First, the Canucks blew two separate leads. In particular, the Golden Knights were coming at the Canucks in the final period, outshooting the home team in the final period. Overall, Vegas fired over 40 shots at the Canucks net. This trend can’t continue with Demko out with a concussion for the foreseeable future and there being an understandable reluctance to play Michael Dipietro, especially with the standings so tight and the need for wins.
  • It was encouraging to see the Canucks regroup after blowing both leads. They also killed off a late Vegas power play. Had the Golden Knights scored, I don’t know if the Canucks would have been able to tie the game. It would have been very deflating.
  • The Canucks won 60% of the draws, led by Tyler Motte, who won 67% of the draws he took. JT Miller (63% success rate), Jay Beagle (60% success rate), Bo Horvat (59% success rate) and Adam Gaudette (56% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks landed 24 hits, led by Motte, Tanner Pearson and Oscar Fantenberg, who each had 4 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 18 shots, led by Chris Tanev, who had 3 blocked shots
  • Up next, after passing this test, the Canucks take on an even tougher opponent in the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Canucks suffered a heartbreaking loss in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. It’s important that they take the positive of prevailing against an equally tough opponent into the next game. The Canucks will need to limit the mistakes made this game because the Pens will take advantage.
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