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Game #57 San Jose Sharks (34-16-7) @ Vancouver Canucks (25-25-7) – game recap

Tonight the Canucks played yet another critical game facing potential 1st round playoff opponents San Jose Sharks. The Canucks recalled winger Zack MacEwen, who started on the first line with Bo Horvat and Antoine Roussel. MacEwen has been ripping up the AHL this season and deserves a long look, which he’ll get with Sven Baertschi likely done for the season. Thatcher Demko is likely to start skating the next day or two and may rejoin the team either at the end of the road trip or when the team returns home next week. Alex Edler is working out in the gym and will hopefully return in the short term as well. San Jose is red hot having won five straight heading into tonight’s contest. Jacob Markstrom was between the pipes again.  Michael Dipietro also started his first career game. Dipietro became just the second teenager to start a game in goal for the Canucks. Troy Gamble stated one game as a 19 year old in the 1986-87 season. Could the Canucks take a bite  of the Sharks? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Sharks opened the scoring just over a minute into the game after the Sharks won a puck battle behind the net and a wide open Timo Meier slammed it by Mike Dipietro
  • Two minutes eighteen seconds later, Evander Kane scored a weird one as he lofted a high backhand in an attempt to keep the puck in the Canucks zone and it bounced in off Dipietro’s stick
  • Almost five and a half minutes later, Melker Karlsson tipped home a Brent Burns point shot
  • The Canucks got one back with 7 seconds left in the 1st period off a brilliant cross-ice feed by Elias Pettersson that found a wide open Bo Horvat, who made no mistake
  • The Sharks added a goal just over four and a half minutes into the 2nd period as Kane ripped a shot top corner from just inside the left faceoff circle
  • Just under six and a half minutes later Thomas Hertl was allowed to slip past the Canucks defenders and roof one on Dipietro
  • Six and a half minutes after that, Kevin Leblanc one-timed the puck by Dipietro, who had absolutely no chance on the play
  • The Canucks got one back just over 12 minutes into the 3rd period off a centering feed by Zack MacEwen that Derrick Pouliot whacked home
  • Just under two minutes later, Joe Pavelski tipped home the Sharls 7th goal
  • Mike Dipietro stopped 17 of 24 shots
  • Final score: Sharks 7 Canucks 2

My Take:

  • What a horrible way to play in front of a goalie making his NHL debut. The Canucks continued a troubling trend where they had poor defensive coverage and were unable to clear the puck. This one could not be pinned on Mike Dipietro at all. The rookie goalie looked better as the game went on, coming up with some big saves in the 3rd period. It looked like Dipietro had some nerves (understandably) in the first 2 periods. I thought it was great to see the Canucks congratulating Dipietro like they had won the game. Honestly, tomorrow, the whole team but Dipietro deserves a bag skate before heading to Anaheim
  • The only positives from tonight were Zack MacEwen getting his first career point and Elias Pettersson continuing his magic with a brilliant cross-ice feed
  • The Canucks won 48% of the draws tonight, led by Brock Boeser who won his only faceoff. Jay Beagle had a good night, winning 54% of his faceoffs. Elias Pettersson, Markus Granlund and Tyler Motte all won half the draws they took
  • The Canucks landed 17 hits, led by Motte and Alex Biega, who both landed 3 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 13 shots, led by Ben Hutton, who blocked 3 shots
  • Based on tonight’s game, if the Canucks met the Sharks in the 1st round of the playoffs, I don’t think the Canucks would win more than a game and a sweep would be quite possible.
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Anaheim to take on the Ducks to start a crucial 3 game road trip. The Ducks should not be taken lightly, even though they have lost 19 of their last 21 games. They fired their head coach today and you can bet Anaheim will be playing hard on Wednesday.
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