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Game #38 Edmonton Oilers (20-16-4) @ Vancouver Canucks (19-15-4) – game recap

The Canucks wrapped up their pre-Xmas schedule with a tilt against the Edmonton Oilers before a much-needed 5-day break. This game also wrapped up the season series between the two Pacific Division rivals. The Canucks were looking to split the season series after the Oilers took two of the first three meetings this season, including the season-opening game for both teams. The Canucks received good and bad news on the injury front tonight. First the good news. Both Thatcher Demko and Alex Edler were activated off the IR from respective concussion and upper body injuries. To make room on the roster, Jalen Chatfield was loaned to Utica. Michael Dipietro remained on the roster tonight in case Demko couldn’t back up after warm-ups. He’ll go back tomorrow. Jordie Benn was a healthy scratch with Edler returning to the lineup. Demko served as the back-up tonight as the Canucks chose to ride the hot hand of Jacob Markstrom, who has bounced back nicely after a tough stretch in November and the early part of December. Brandon Sutter was placed back on the IR with an upper body injury. Could the Canucks make it three wins in a row on this home stand and to end this part of the schedule? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring just over 11 minutes into the 1st period as Tyler Motte beat Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen with a quick snap shot after winning the draw just as a Canucks PP expired
  • Just under four and a half minutes later, the Oilers tied it as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deftly stickhandled around three Canucks defenders and snapped it past Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • The Oilers took the lead just over three minutes into the 2nd period as Oscar Klefbom ripped one home from the point and by a screened Markstrom for a PP marker
  • The Canucks tied it just over 4 minutes into the 3rd period as Bo Horvat tipped home a shot by Tanner Pearson
  •  Just over nine and a half minutes later, the Canucks retook the lead as Quinn Hughes drilled a one-timer from the point for a PP marker
  • Just under six minutes later, the Canucks put it away via a Loui Eriksson empty-netter
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 27/29 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 4 Oilers 2

My Take:

  • Last game of a tough stretch with players eyeing a few days away from the game to recharge, in the case of Jacob Markstrom who played his 8th straight game tonight, relax, and recover. The Canucks easily could have mailed it in facing a tough opponent that had bested them in 2 of the first three meetings. Instead, the Canucks came out with a huge 3rd period comeback, taking advantage of an Oilers team that was playing it’s third game in 4 nights. Coming into this home stand, the Canucks were reeling, having lost 3 of 4. After dropping the opener of this home stand to the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks prevailed in two stiff tests vs. the Vegas Golden Knights, who had dominated the series between the two squads and their goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury hadn’t lost to the Canucks in regulation in over a decade. The Canucks defeated the Golden Knights in a thrilling 5-4 OT victory where they refused to lose. Two nights later, the Canucks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been among the hottest teams to start the season, and they’ve been doing it without captain Sidney Crosby and at times Evgeni Malkin and/or Kris Letang. Brock Boeser scored again on Matt Murray for the 6th time in 5 games he’s faced the Pens netminder. The Canucks should be going into the break feeling good about themselves
  • Loui Eriksson scored against the Oilers for the second time this season and it was just his second goal of the season. Real selfless play by Alex Edler to pass the puck to Loui, who has endured perhaps his toughest season in a Canucks uniform with several games as a healthy scratch with the Canucks having more depth this season and experiencing fewer injuries. It was easily his best game this season.
  • Jacob Markstrom dug deep and came up with a solid 27 save performance against some of the more elite shooters in the game, including Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He didn’t really have much chance on either goal (a great solo effort by RNH, who eluded three Canucks defenders and Marky was screened on the 2nd Oilers goal.) Markstrom should be putting his feet up these next three days and not even play a hockey video game.
  • The Canucks won 56% of the draws, led by Jay Beagle, who won 70% of the draws he took. JT Miller and Adam Gaudette also had good nights in the faceoff circle with both centers enjoying 67% success rates in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Oilers 21-13, led by Tyler Motte, who had 3 hits tonight
  • The Canucks block 15 shots, led by Motte, who blocked 3 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks wrap up the homestand, facing the LA Kings for the 3rd time this season. The Canucks have won both of the first two meetings, outscoring the Kings 13-5, including an 8-2 rout in the home opener. It’s unlikely any of the injured players will be ready to return when play resumes Friday. Brandon Sutter was placed on the IR retroactively and hasn’t skated in a couple of days. Michael Ferland has been skating for several days, but given he experienced more post-concussion symptoms his first game back from a concussion, the Canucks will exercise extreme caution. Josh Leivo won’t be ready until at least the end of February and possibly the end of March after fracturing his kneecap after bashing it hard into the boards Thursday vs. Vegas.Tyler Graoavac remains week to week as he continues to recover from an upper body injury. The Canucks best rest up these next few days because January features a stretch of 6 of 9 games on the road.
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