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Game #65 Vancouver Canucks (27-29-9) @ Arizona Coyotes (31-28-5) – game recap

After a heartbreaking shootout loss to the Avs last night, the Canucks were back at it with yet another crucial game against the Arizona Coyotes, who came into this one two points ahead of the Canucks and three points back of the Avalanche for the 2nd wild card spot. To the surprise of no one, Thatcher Demko got the start in goal. Jacob Markstrom had been playing a ridiculous amount of games due to the importance of winning, and Demko’s injury shortly after the all-star break. Alex Edler also made his return to the lineup after recovering from a scary incident in Philadelphia where he fell face-first to the ice after getting tangled up with Flyers forward Jakub Voracek. Adam Gaudette also returned to the lineup after missing last game with an illness. Could the Canucks beat the Coyotes? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Coyotes opened the scoring just under twelve minutes into the 1st period as Lawson Crouse found a streaking Brad Richardson, who snapped one glove side on Thatcher Demko
  • Just over three minutes later, the Canucks tied it as Tanner Pearson got behind the Coyotes defense and snapped one high blocker side on Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper
  • Forty-four seconds after that, the Coyotes retook the lead as Richardson was Johnny on the spot to deposit a centering feed to the side of the net
  • The Coyotes added a goal almost 12 minutes into the 2nd period as Richardson (who else?) deftly stuffed a centering feed by Demko
  • Just over five and a half minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk cracked a one-timer on a cross-ice feed by Demko for a PP goal
  • The Canucks got one back six  and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Antoine Roussel flicked one top corner on Kuemper
  • Just under ninety seconds later, Richardson completed a two-on-one break with his 4th(!) goal of the game
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 19 of 24 shots
  • Final Score: Coyotes 5 Canucks 2

My Take

  • Tough game for Thatcher Demko, who was lit up for 5 goals on 24 shots in his 3rd career game. The Canucks organization is going to have to preach patience with their prospect goalie, who will certainly experience more games like this as he learns how to be a goalie in the NHL. Was this the ideal circumstance to play him in, the second half of a back-to-back, facing a red-hot Arizona Coyotes team desperately trying to make the playoffs? No. However, last night’s game might have ended even worse as the Avalanche are more gifted offensively and the Canucks were a disaster defensively. It’s kind of like the old adage where you apply for a job that wants experience, but the only way to gain that experience is to do the job. Demko will face the Coyotes again, and if he’s going to eventually be a starting goalie, he has to learn how to play these types of games where scoring chances are at a premium. The Canucks can’t be coddling Demko. They felt he was ready to make the step. Now, the coaching staff and his team have to have trust/faith that he will get better each game.
  • Another rough one for the power play, which went 0-3 and a costly turnover at the very end of a PP led to Richardson’s first goal as he exited the penalty box. The Canucks penalty killing unit gave up a PP goal on an extended 2-man advantage.
  • The Canucks won 47% of the draws tonight, led by Adam Gaudette, who won 83% of the draws he took. Jay Beage (70% success rate) and Tyler Motte (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle.
  • The Canucks outhit the Coyotes 29-19, led by Tyler Motte, who had 5 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 11 shots tonight, led by Alex Edler, who had 5 blocked shots in his return to the lineup.
  • Up next, the Canucks wrap up the road trip with a matinee Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights. The relevance of the game will be determined the next couple of days as the Canucks must rely on help from other teams to avoid falling further behind in the playoff race.
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