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Game #42 – NY Rangers (19-17-4) @ Vancouver Canucks (22-15-4) – game recap

Tonight was the 3rd of 4 decade celebration nights as the Canucks play their 50th anniversary season. The 90’s was a decade that was both good and bad for the Canucks. The peak of the decade was a surprise Stanley Cup run that ended in a heartbreaking game 7 defeat to the NY Rangers, the opponent for tonight’s game. The legendary coach, arguably the greatest in Canucks history, Irishman Pat Quinn ran the team for the bulk of the decade, followed by Rick Ley, Tom Renney and Mike Keenan. Mark Crawford took over at the end of the 1998-99 season. The end of the 90’s might be the darkest period in Canucks history due to a regrettable signing of Mark Messier, who pretty much destroyed the team. Some of the key players who played for the Canucks in the 90’s included captain Trevor Linden, sniper Pavel Bure (he enjoyed consecutive 60 goal seasons before a devastating ACL tear that cost him basically the entire 1995-96 season. Bure was never the same after and was traded after two more seasons), Alex Mogilny, Messier (key for the way he destroyed the team), Kirk McLean, Dave Babych, Greg Adams, Cliff Ronning, Gino Odjick, Geoff Courtnall, Jyrki Lumme, Petr Nedved, Igor Larionov, Matthias Ohlund, Martin Gelinas, Adrian Aucoin, Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund, Corey Hirsch, Kay Whitmore, Ed Jovanovski, Trent Klatt and Matt Cooke. Several of those players were on hand for tonight’s celebration.

Tonight, the Canucks were looking for their 7th straight victory thanks to superb goaltending during this stretch. The Rangers came into tonight’s tilt 6th in the WC standings, tied with the Habs and 7 points back of Philadelphia for the 2nd WC spot. The Canucks were 3rd in the Pacific division heading into play today, one point ahead of Edmonton with 2 games in hand, 2 points back of Arizona with a game in hand and 4 points back of Vegas with 3 games in hand. Jacob Markstrom, who got the start between the pipes tonight, learned he will be joining Elias Pettersson at the All-Star game in St. Louis at the end of the month after Marc-Andre Fleury declined his invite. Quinn Hughes is still waiting to hear if he’ll be going as well (vote for him as last man). The Canucks went with the same lineup that’s been rolling in this 6-game winning streak. None of the three injured players (Sutter, Ferland, and Leivo) skated this morning. Could the Canucks make it 7 wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring almost two minutes into the game as Antoine Roussel beat Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev after a beautiful between the legs pass by Loui Eriksson
  • Just over six minutes later, the Rangers tied the game as Pavel Buchnevich wired a one-timer past Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • Tyler Myers put the Canucks ahead with 91 seconds left in the 3rd period with a seeing-eye shot through a crowd that found the back of the net
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 36/37 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 2 Rangers 1

My Take:

  • The Canucks did a great job with the pregame ceremony. It was great to see Jyrki Lumme, Kirk McLean, Greg Adams, Cliff Ronning, Dave Babych, Gino Odjick and Arthurs Griffiths. Watching from above was the late Pat Quinn, arguably the best coach in Canucks history and 90’s trainer Larry Ashley. You know the big Irishman would be proud of what the current team is achieving with this current win streak.
  • It feels like I’ve been typing this a lot lately but Jacob Markstrom stole the game for the Canucks. He made some huge saves in this one with the Canucks struggling with their breakout passes. His best save was a pad stack in the 3rd period that was reminiscent of the infamous save Kirk McLean made game 7 of round 1 of the 1994 playoffs. In the 1st and 3rd periods, the Rangers outshot the Canucks 29-13. The Canucks only outshot the Rangers in the middle period because they had a trio of power plays. This one easily could have been the end of the winning streak had Markstrom not stood on his head
  • Obscure call of the night: faceoff infraction. This is a penalty that rarely gets called. Usually what happens is a player gets kicked out of the faceoff circle. If it happens a second time, the ref is supposed to call a penalty, but that rarely ever happens. It’s about a rare a call as the goalie playing the puck outside the trapezoid
  • Worst non-call: The Rangers not being penalized for knocking Elias Pettersson to the ice. Yes, the Canucks were already on a PP, but you have to make that call.
  • Not to nitpick, but the Canucks need to have a better strategy with the lead late in a game. After Myers scored, the Rangers got possession in the Canucks zone and it might as well have been a Rangers PP. The Canucks defenders were standing around and trying to block shots. They should be more aggressive and pressure the opposition, maybe score an empty-netter to take some pressure off.
  • The Canucks won 66% of the faceoffs, led by Elias Pettersson, who won every draw he took. Jay Beagle (89% success rate), JT Miller (70% success rate) and Bo Horvat (69% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle.
  • The Canucks outhit the Rangers 29-21, led by Tyler Motte, who banged out 5 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 20 shots, led by Alex Edler, who blocked 5 shots tonight
  • Up next, the Canucks hit the road for 10 days, starting in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Injured Canucks Brandon Sutter and Michael Ferland are possibilities to join the team on the road trip and possibly return at some point in the latter part of the trip.
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