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Game #5 – Detroit Red Wings (3-3) @ Vancouver Canucks (3-2) – game recap

Tonight, the Canucks wrapped up their first home stand of the season with a tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. Alex Biega made his debut with the Red Wings after the trade from Vancouver 9 days ago. Thatcher Demko got his first start of the season with Jacob Markstrom away on personal family business. Tyler Motte was also activated off the injured list after missing the first two weeks with an upper body injury. Ashton Sautner was a surprise recall with Oscar Fantenberg dealing with the sane illness that caused Michael Ferland to miss time in the preseason. Sautner was a healthy scratch with the Canucks opting to go with the same D-pairings they’ve had since opening night in Edmonton. Loui Eriksson was also a healthy scratch for the third game in a row. Could the Canucks make it three in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Red Wings opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game as Dylan Larkin was left all alone in the slot and beat Thatcher Demko with a slick backhand-forehand deke
  • The Canucks tied the game with just over 2 minutes left in the 1st period on a sweet spin-o-rama pass by Jake Virtanen right onto the stick of Troy Stetcher, who snapped it by Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier
  • The Canucks took the lead just over a minute into the 2nd period as Alex Edler deftly thread the eye of the needle, beating Bernier stick side through lots of traffic for a PP goal
  • Just over two and a half minutes later, Elias Pettersson was johnny on the spot to knock home a rebound
  • Almost 9 minutes later, JT Miller tipped home an Edler point shot for the Canucks second PP goal of the period
  • The Canucks added a goal with just over six and a half minutes left in the game as Miller snapped one home from the high slot for the Canucks 3rd PP goal of the game
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 26 of 27 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 5 Red Wings 1

My Take:

  • After Thatcher Demko allowed the first shot he faced to go in, it was all Canucks, who went onto score 5 straight goals, three of which came on the PP. Demko had a strong game, stopping 26 straight shots. He had to be sharp early in the 3rd period when the Red Wings were given a lengthy 2-man advantage. He also stopped 2 shorthanded chances. This was a good game to give him some confidence as his next start will be a stiffer test against the Stanley Cup champs.
  • Travis Green looks like an absolute genius for swapping JT Miller and Michael Ferland on the two top lines. Miller scored twice and provided a nice screen on Alex Edler’s  tally to put the Canucks ahead. Brock Boeser, Edler and Elias Pettersson all had three point nights
  • The power play was much better tonight, scoring three times in 5 opportunities. The key to success tonight? Moving the puck up the ice quickly, effective screens and some deft shooting. I noticed the Red Wings were taking away the drop pass by being aggressive on the forecheck. I suspect other teams will do this and when the PP is not confident, you will see the drop pass return and be intercepted. However, great job tonight.
  • Tyler Motte played just over 16 minutes in his season debut, finish with an even rating, 2 shots on goal, a hit and he forced a turnover
  • The Canucks won 54% of the draws tonight, led by Jay Beagle, who won 85% of the faceoffs he took. JT Miller (60% success rate), and Elias Pettersson (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Red Wings 24-13, led by Michael Ferland, who had 4 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 15 shots, led by Chris Tanev who clocked 5 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks hit the road for a week, starting on Thursday with a stiff test against the defending Stanley Cup champs. While the Canucks took two of three in the season series last year, the first two games of last season’s series came in December when the Blues were dead last in the NHL. The final meeting of the season last year was much more indicative of the team the Canucks will face. The key will be solving Jordan Binnington, who finished runner-up to Pettersson in the Calder trophy race for best rookie.
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