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Game #45 Vancouver Canucks (24-17-4) @ Buffalo Sabres (19-19-7) – game recap

After being thoroughly routed in Florida to the tune of a 14-4 accumulated score, the Canucks looked to get back to their winning ways against their expansion cousins the Buffalo Sabres. Both teams entered play on the outside looking in with respect to the playoffs. The Sabres and Canucks are both 5th in their divisions. Buffalo sat 6th in the wild card standings, 7 points back of the Flyers, while the Canucks were 3rd in the West wild card standings, two points back of the Jets before play began Saturday. Jacob Markstrom was back in net while Oscar Fantenberg returned to the lineup, replacing Jordie Benn, who was last man back on one of the Panthers goals Thursday. With back to backs this weekend, the goalies will likely split the games. Could the Canucks get back on track after two disastrous games in Florida? Here is today’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Sabres opened the scoring just under nine minutes into the game as Brandon Montour blasted a slapper by Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • Just under five minutes later, the Canucks tied the game as Brock Boeser tipped home a shot by Troy Stetcher
  • The Canucks took the lead almost four minutes into the 2nd period as Bo Horvat was johnny on the spot to grab his own rebound and stuff the puck into the gaping net
  • Just over two and a half minutes later, Sam Reinhart cracked a one-timer past Markstrom for a PP marker
  • The Canucks retook the lead just over a minute into the 3rd period as JT Miller was johnny on the spot to stuff his own rebound past Carter Hutton
  • Just over two minutes later, the game was tied again as Zemgus Girgensons tipped home a shot by Kyle Okposo
  • Just under three minutes later, the Canucks took their third lead of the game as Boeser finished off a give and go with Chris Tanev
  • Seventy-four seconds later, Jake Virtanen ripped a one-timer home on a delayed penalty
  • Loui Eriksson added an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 26/28 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 6 Sabres 3

My Take:

  • The Canucks were much better all around. I loved the response of the team in this back and forth game that saw four lead changes before the Canucks took the lead for good with 2 quick strikes early in the 3rd period.
  • Brock Boeser was apparently no worse for wear after missing the final seven minutes of Thursday’s game with an undisclosed injury. Boeser scored twice, was +4, had 8 shots on goal and blocked a shot in 15:08 of ice time.
  • Jacob Markstrom also had a bounce-back game after allowing 6 goals on 21 shots in Tampa Bay. He made the saves he had to today, stopping 26/28 shots
  • The big change for the Canucks was giveaways. They had none today, which was a vast improvement from the two losses in Florida. The Canucks were sound defensively and had strong attention to detail. This is why they won.
  • The Canucks won 53% of the faceoffs, led by Antoine Roussel, who won every faceoff he took. JT Miller (62% success rate), Bo Horvat (58% success rate) and Adam Gaudette (50% success rate) also had good days in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks had 11 hits, led by Tanner Pearson and Alex Edler, who both had a pair of hits
  • The Canucks blocked 12 shots, led by Edler and Tyler Myers, who both blocked a pair of shots
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Minnesota for a second straight matinee. Expect Thatcher Demko to get the nod in net and the Canucks will likely ice the same lineup as today.. The Wild won 2 of the three meetings last season, outscoring the Canucks 11-9
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