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Game #67 Toronto Maple Leafs (41-21-5) @ Vancouver Canucks (28-30-9) – game recap

The Canucks were facing another massive game tonight as they attempted to keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive. Unfortunately, two more players went down with injury. Ben Hutton was out with a sore foot after blocking a shot Sunday in Vegas. Ryan Spooner was also out with a nagging groin injury. It was learned prior to the game that Brandon Sutter will undergo season-ending sports hernia surgery (not a huge surprise). Josh Leivo was facing his former team for the first time, as he missed the January 5th game in Toronto with back spasms. Jacob Markstrom got the start in goal. Could the Canucks pull off a huge upset and keep the playoff dream alive? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game highlights:

  • The Maple Leafs opened the scoring 12:28 into the 2nd period off a turnover by the power play as Ron Hainsey made no mistake converting on the ensuing 2-on-1 break the other way
  • Thirty-four seconds later, Derrick Pouliot coughed up the puck in the corner and Morgan Reilly beat Jacob Markstrom short-side
  • The Canucks got one back 2:21 into the 3rd period as Loui Erickson lifted a backhander past Frederick Andersen
  • Almost two minutes later, Josh Leivo tied the game, snapping a good hard wrister glove side on Andersen
  • The Canucks won the game 3:11 into overtime as Brock Boeser found a streaking Alex Edler, who let fly with a hard snap shot that beat Andersen far glove side
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 of 31 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 3 Maple Leafs 2

My take:

  • A much better effort from the Canucks, who outshot the Maple Leafs 15-8 in the 1st period. Unfortunately, they fell behind in the middle period. However, they responded with a huge 3rd period comeback and got the much needed win, controlling the play in overtime
  • Both of the masked men were on tonight. Jacob Markstrom and Freddy Andersen both made huge saves to keep their teams in it. Markstrom deserves to get some Vezina votes.
  • Josh Leivo had a strong game vs his former team, with the tying goal and won half the draws he took.
  • Alex Edler had a very strong game tonight with the game-winning goal, 6 shots on goal, 4 hits, 5 blocked shots and 3 forced turnovers and a +2 rating
  • The Canucks won 57% of the draws, led by Brock Boeser, who won 75% of the draws he took. Bo Horvat (72% success rate), Leivo (50% success rate) and Elias Pettersson (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • It was great to see the power play finally convert. I liked the approach the Canucks were taking with zone entry, skating the puck up the ice, as opposed to the much maligned drop pass that wastes valuable seconds. The Canucks still need to work on the power play, as it was turned back at the blueline far too often and only managed 3 shots on goal in 4 PP opportunities.
  • The Canucks outhit the Maple Leafs 22-14, led by Alex Biega, who had 5 hits.
  • The Canucks blocked 19 shots, led by Edler’s 5 blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Edmonton for a game tomorrow night. The Oilers are riding a 3 game winning streak. Look for Markstrom to get the start, after a relatively light workload, in comparison to recent games.
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