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Game #71 New Jersey Devils (27-36-9) @ Vancouver Canucks (29-32-10) – game recap

The NJ Devils rolled into town as the Canucks wrapped up the home stand before embarking on the second to last road trip of the season. The lineup was mostly the same as last game, save for Loui Eriksson drawing back into the lineup in place of the injured Antoine Roussel, who saw his season end two nights ago after an awkward fall where his right leg got caught in a bad position. Interestingly, Travis Green had Erickson on the top line with Bo Horvat and Nikolay Goldobin, show of confidence or giving them the best opportunity to pad their stats to increase their trade value. Goldobin and/or Erickson are expected to be traded this summer to make way for some of the younger prospects, such as Adam Gaudette and Zach MacEwen. Also moving Erickson would clear up a substantial amount of cap space with Brock Boeser expected to get a big raise. Jacob Markstrom got the start in net. It will be interesting to see how the Canucks handle the goalie starts the last ten games. Personally, Thatcher Demko should start at least half the games in my opinion. Josh Teves took to the ice for the first time since signing as a college free agent. He did not start tonight, but expect Teves to join the team on the road trip and possibly play Sunday or Monday. Jay Beagle was a late scratch with an apparent illness. Tim Schaller took his spot in the lineup. Could the Canucks win two in a row for the first time since January 18, 20? Here is tonight’a game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring 3:18 into the second period as Elias Pettersson unleashed a wicked snap shot that was in and out of the net faster than you can say “the Canucks scored” for a power play marker, the second consecutive game the power play has converted for a goal.
  • The Canucks doubled the lead 1:42 into the 3rd period as Tanner Pearson had his wrist shot deflect in off the goal stick of Mackenzie Blackwood
  • Just under 4 minutes later, The Devils got on the board as Kevin Rooney backhanded home a rebound
  • Just under 8 minutes later, poor defensive coverage allowed a wide open Stefan Noesen to backhand home the tying goal in a pretty similar play to the Devils first goal
  • Damon Severson scored the game-winning goal in the shootout. Elias Pettersson scored the lone Canuks goal in the shootout on a beautiful move ala Peter Forsberg
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 36/40 shots, including 5/7 in the shootout
  • Final score: Devils 3 Canucks 2 (shootout loss)

My Take:

  • Is there a more snake-bitten Canuck when it comes to injuries than Chris Tanev? He left tonight’s game after playing just 3:07 after blocking a shot. He was seen after the game in a walking boot and on crutches with the rumor being he fractured his leg. This after returning just 2 games ago after Ryan Getzlaf landed on his ankle three weeks prior. Tanev will finish the season with 55GP, 2G, 10A, 122 blocked shots (might be good for 2nd best on the team if Hutton is also done for the year as he may well be), and 29 hits. I’ll talk more about Tanev in my weekly random thoughts post. Tough luck for him and speedy recovery.
  • It was the same old story. The Canucks started slow (outshot 13-6 in the 1st period, game scoreless because of Jacob Markstrom). The Canucks actually built a 2-0 lead, something that’s been rare, but the Devils chipped away and the game was tied by the 13:34 mark of the 3rd period. Markstrom again gave his team a chance in the shootout with 4 consecutive stops, but only Elias Pettersson was able to beat Mackenzie Blackwood.
  • Over the next ten games, it’s time to give the younger players more ice time and play Thatcher Demko on a more frequent basis than he has been. We know Markstrom will be the starting goalie next year and Demko needs to gain experience playing these types of games. At minimum, Demko should start 5 of the final 10 games.
  • The Canucks won 47% of the faceoffs tonight, led by Brock Boeser, who won 80% of the draws he took. Only Bo Horvat (52% success rate) won a respectable number of draws, everyone else was below 50% success rate
  • The Canucks landed 16 hits tonight, led by Alex Edler, who had 5 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 14 shots, led by Edler and Troy Stetcher, who each blocked 3 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks hit the road again, taking on the Dallas Stars for a late afternoon matinee on Sunday. There will be at least one lineup change forthcoming next game with Chris Tanev’s season coming to an end. Perhaps newly signed college free agent Josh Teves will make his Canucks debut. He skated this morning and will at least get another morning skate on Sunday if tomorrow is purely a travel day.
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