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Game #78 LA Kings (28-40-9) @ Vancouver Canucks (33-35-10) – game recap

Quinn Hughes had a strong debut in a thrilling 3-2 shootout win over the Kings

Four words: Quinn Hughes NHL debut. Tonight, the Canucks prospect made his widely anticipated debut, delayed due to an ankle injury suffered blocking a shot in the final weekend of his university hockey career. Ben Hutton returned to the lineup after recovering from a foot fracture he got blocking a shot a month ago. Ryan Spooner drew into the lineup for Sven Baertschi, who struggled in the 2 games he played this week. It may be the end of Baertschi’s season, and quite possibly his career. It’s too bad if his career is in fact over that it ended the way it did. Thatcher Demko got the start in net. How many of the remaining five games will he get? In my view, he should start three of the next five games. Could the Canucks dethrone the Kings? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Kings opened the scoring with just over 7 minutes left in the 1st period as the puck took a funny hop off the end boards and Austin Wagner was johnny on the spot to whack it home with no one around him
  • The Canucks tied the game just over 14 minutes into the 3rd period as Alex Edler broke the all-time Canucks D record for career goals with his 94th career goal, whipping  a shot off the draw past a screened Jonathan Quick.
  • Just under a minute later, Quinn Hughes got his first career point as Brock Boeser scored on a rebound while falling on his butt
  • The Kings tied the game 11:47 into the 3rd period as Adrian Kempe snapped a wrist shot short side on Thatcher Demko
  • Tanner Pearson scored the only shootout goal
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 41 of 43 shots, including all four in his first career shootout
  • Final score: Canucks 3 Kings 2 shootout win!

My Take:

  • Three big milestones for the Canucks tonight. First, Alex Edler passed Mattias Ohlund for top spot in goal scoring among Canucks D with his 94th career goal. Edler has earned a contract extension big time
  • Less than a minute later, Quinn Hughes set up Brock Boeser for his first career point. Hughes had a phenomenal NHL debut with an assist, 2 shots on goal and a forced turnover in 15:36 of ice time. He looked dangerous every shift, and he looked so smooth skating. Sure he missed on his first shootout attempt, but it’s the impact that he had on the ice that was key. A few years from now, Edler’s scoring records might be in jeopardy.
  • The other milestone was Thatcher Demko experienced his first career shootout and he stoned all four Kings snipers that he faced. He was also great in the game, stopping 37/39 through OT, including a couple of big ones in OT when the Kings got a PP
  • Ben Hutton also had a strong night in his return to the lineup after a broken foot healed with a pair of shots on goal, a hit and a pair of blocked shots
  • Luke Schenn has earned himself a new contract. He is consistently doing everything he can to help the team out and has shown a willingness to be physical, something the team has been lacking this season
  • The Canucks won 49% of the draws, led by Ryan Spooner, who won 67% of the draws he took. Bo Horvat (60% success rate), Jay Beagle (58% success rate) and Elias Pettersson (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • Hits were even 20-20. Jake Virtanen led the Canucks, banging out 6 hits
  • The Canucks blocked 19 shots, led by Luke Schenn, Alex Edler and Troy Stetcher, who each blocked 3 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks face off against the Dallas Stars, who look like they will have one of the two wild card spots. They are currently in the 1st wild card position, seven points clear of the 9th place Arizona Coyotes. I will be at this game with the Facebook group Vancouver Nuckleheads. I am pumped to see our young studs. In a year or two this team will be a force to be reckoned with.
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