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Game #80 San Jose Sharks (44-27-9) @ Vancouver Canucks (35-35-10) – game recap

The Canucks wrapped up their home portion of the 2018-2019 hockey season taking on the San Jose Sharks, who are going to be facing at the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs. Prior to the game tonight, the Canucks signed free agent goalie Jake Kielly. The Canucks have had not had this kind of goaltending death since Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider, and Eddie lack were all under control by the Canucks. It’s expected that’s Thatcher Demko and Jacob Markstrom will form the goalie tandem in Vancouver, while Michael Dipietro and Kielly will be in Utica. The Canucks also signed free agent defenseman Brogan Rafferty. The Canucks are now at the 50 contract limit. Rafferty may or may not play in the three remaining games. The Canucks are hoping Jake Virtanen will be able to travel with Canucks for the final road trip, but he did not play tonight. Thatcher Demko got the start in goal. Could the Canucks finish off the home schedule with a victory? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring 88 seconds into the game as Tanner Pearson whipped a centering feed past Sharks goalie Martin Jones
  • Just over three and a half minutes later, the Sharks tied the game off a Brendan Dillon shot that was tipped in by Kevin Labanc
  • Just over five and a half minutes later, the Sharks took the lead on a lucky bounce that went right to Joe Pavelski at the side of the net, who deftly stuffed it past a sprawling Thatcher Demko
  • The Canucks tied the game 11:18 into the 3rd period as Troy Pearson was johnny on the spot to stuff home a rebound on the doorstep. The goal stood after a challenge for goalie interference by the Sharks
  • Just over two minutes later, the Canucks took the lead as Markus Granlund was johnny on the spot to whack home a loose puck
  • Troy Stetcher sealed the deal with an empty net shot from 200 feet
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 33 of 35 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 4 Sharks 2

My Take:

  • What a great way to send the fans off into the off-season with a huge come-from-behind win over division rivals, and powerhouse San Jose Sharks. Thatcher Demko stood tall in goal, stopping 33 of the 35 shots that came his way. I think Demko will play one of the two remaining games.
  • The way the goals were scored by the Canucks tonight bolds well for the future. The game-tying and game-winning goals were the results of good old-fashioned boots to the ground effort. Tanner Pearson and Markus Granlund both outworked the Sharks defenders and were able to find the loose pucks and bury them. This is what it takes a lot of times to score. Many of the goals scored in the NHL today are off rebounds and deflections, which require having players willing to go to the hard areas and battle.
  • The Canucks handed out their annual awards tonight. Jacob Markstrom (no surprise) was team MVP, Elias Pettersson (another no-brainer) was most exciting player, Antoine Roussel was unsung hero (I would have picked Sven Baerrtschi for his courage to come back after the concussion) and Alex Edler got the nod as the top defenseman (I would have picked Troy Stetcher, who’s quietly been having a very solid season)
  • It was really classy of the Canucks to shake retiring refereee Lonnie Cameron’s hand after the game. Bo Horvat gave him the game puck and another Canuck gave him their stick. Refs aren’t the most liked personnel in hockey, especially when players don’t agree with the call. Happy trails Lonnie.
  • The Canucks were 0-2 on the power play. More importantly, Hughes got almost two minutes of PP time. Apparently Travis Green listened to the masses
  • The Canucks dominated the faceoff circle, winning 62% of the draws, led by Ryan Spooner, who won every draw he took. Jay Beagle (79% success rate), Bo Horvat (64% success rate) and Adam Gaudette (635 success rate)
  • The Canucks landed 14 hits, led by Luke Schenn and Ryan Spooner, who both had 3 hits.
  • The Canucks blocked 12 shots, led by Troy Stetcher, who had 4 blocked shots
  • The Canucks finished the home portion of the schedule with a 20-16-5 record, much improved over a 16-18-7 record on home ice last season. The Canucks have the opportunity to finish  over .500 for the first time since the 2014-15 season, which was the last time the Canucks made the playoffs. The future looks so bright for this team!
  • Up next, the Canucks hit the road for the final time this season as they take on the Nashville Predators, who are in a tight battle with Winnipeg for top spot in the central division. Whoever wins the division will have a slightly easier path through the West. The two teams split the season’s first 2 meetings, but the Canucks have earned points in both games.
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