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Game #47- Vancouver Canucks (25-18-4) @ Winnipeg Jets (25-18-4) – game recap

After splitting the first four games of this five-game road trip, the Canucks wrapped it up with a tilt in Winnipeg, where they have not won in almost 6 years, the last victory coming on March 12, 2014. Since that game, the Canucks are a dismal 3-13 in 16 games vs. the southern Manitobans. In that stretch, the Canucks have been shut out three times by the Jets and several of the games have been lopsided. With a victory tonight, the Canucks could have jumped to 1st in the Pacific division, one point ahead of Calgary and Arizona (depending on their result vs. the Sharks tonight). A loss in regulation had the potential to knock them out of the playoff position, which speaks to how tight the standings are in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference as a whole. This was also a battle of high-octane offences with both teams having 4 players with 40 or more points. The Canucks were facing ex-teammate Luca Sbisa, who was claimed off waivers back on October 23rd. On the injury front, there is potential good news with Brandon Sutter spotted having dinner with several of his teammates and Sbisa last night. His return would benefit Bo Horvat in the faceoff circle and aid the penalty killing. Sutter skated at the morning skate, but did not play tonight. The Canucks iced the same lineup as the last 2 games. Jacob Markstrom was between the pipes. Could the Canucks make it three in a row and finally win in Winnipeg? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Jets opened the scoring 82 seconds into the game as Kyle Connor whipped a cross-ice feed past Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • The Canucks caught a break thirty seconds later when a second Jets goal was called back due to an offside call
  • Just over thirteen minutes later, Jack Roslovic got behind the Canucks defense and picked the top corner on Markstrom
  • The Jets added a goal 72 seconds into the 2nd period as Blake Wheeler wheeled into the right faceoff circle and sent a seeing-eye shot through a crowd and past Markstrom
  • The Jets added an empty-netter with just over two minutes left in the game as Connor snapped it home
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped  21/24 shots
  • Final score: Jets 4 Canucks 0

My Take:

  • For the 8th straight time in Winnipeg and the 10th straight time period, the Canucks fell to the Jets. This was one of the Canucks better efforts in Winnipeg. Tonight, Connor Hellebuyck was a brick wall, stopping 41 shots and having 4 pucks clang off the posts. I don’t know what it is about Winnipeg that the Canucks can’t win in the Central Canadian city. They’ve had games where they were at the end of the road trip and simply had nothing left, they’ve had bad goaltending. Tonight, the Canucks few errors ended up in the back of the net. On the first goal, Kyle Connor was left wide open, on the second goal, Jack Roslovic was on a breakaway and the third goal was past a screened Markstrom. Sometimes you have to tip your hat to a goalie playing lights out
  • The other difference was in the faceoffs. The Jets won 54% of the draws. The Canucks had just one player above the 50% threshold (Bo Horvat with a 56% success rate)
  • It seems like it’s going to take a perfect game by the Canucks to win in Winnipeg and playing their 4th game in 6 nights, 5th in 8 nights is a tall order
  • The Canucks had 12 hits, led by Tyler Motte, Tanner Pearson and  Alex Edler, who each threw a pair of hits
  • The Canucks blocked  10 shots, led by Chris Tanev, who blocked 4 shots
  • With the loss, the Canucks finished the road trip with a 2-3 record. They deserved to win this one with a bit of puck luck, so the Canucks shouldn’t feel too down.
  • Up next, the Canucks head home for a pair of home games that will take them to the all-star break and the bye week. On Thursday, the Canucks face another team that’s had their number for the first time this season, the Arizona Coyotes, who swept all four games of the season series last year. This time around, they will have Taylor Hall to contend with as well. The Coyotes were first in the Pacific division and were up by two when this recap was posted over the San Jose Sharks.
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