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Postseason game #2 – Minnesota Wild (1-1) @ Vancouver Canucks (1-1) – game recap

After dropping the opening game of this quick five game series, the Canucks faced a must-win situation, otherwise they would have been facing elimination in less than 48 hours. While the Canucks fired 29 shots at Alex Stalock in game 1, many of the shots would not be considered grade A chances. Bottom line, the Canucks top 6 players, aside from Elias Petterson, needed to be better. The Canucks also needed to show more discipline (the Wild scored twice with the man advantage in game 1) and draw more penalties by driving to the net more. Jacob Markstrom needed to play like he did during the regular season. While he was far from the reason why the Canucks dropped the first game of the series, he needs to make the extra save. The Wild were one of the best defensive teams in the league and don’t give up many scoring chances. Loui Eriksson and Jake Virtanen drew into the lineup for Tyler Toffoli (injured apparently) and Adam Gaudette. Could the Canucks even the series at one? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Canucks opened the scoring 24 seconds into the 1st period off a Canucks bounce off the boards to Tanner Pearson who slammed it past Wild goalie Alex Stalock
  • Just under 17 minutes later, the Wild tied it while shorthanded after the Canucks gave them WAY too much room and a wide open Luke Kunin snapped it home short-side on Jacob Markstrom
  • The Canucks retook the lead 3 minutes into the 2nd period ripped one top corner on Stalock
  • Almost 6 minutes later, Brock Boeser was johnny on the spot to whack a rebound past Stalock
  • The Canucks added a goal just under 6 and a half minutes into the 3rd as Bo Horvat tipped in a point shot by Quinn Hughes for the Canucks first PP marker of the series
  • The Wild got one back just over 11 minutes later as Kevin Fiala roofed a quick snap shot over Markstrom.
  • Fiala got the Wild within one by cracking a one-timer off the post and in
  • Jacob Markstrom stopped 32/35 shots
  • Final score Canucks 4 Wild 3

My Take:

  • For 55 minutes, the Canucks played the kind of game they should have played in game 1. They got the proverbial monkey off their back, scoring their first goal of the series just 24 seconds into the game. They played a strong second period, scoring twice. It was just the last five minutes where the Canucks kind of sat back. With a two goal cushion, the Canucks tried three times to hit the empty net, missing all three times and giving the Wild essentially two extra mini timeouts as they waited for the ref to skate the length of the ice for the faceoff. Maybe next time, the Canucks should skate the puck to center ice before attempting a shot at the empty net.
  • Jacob Markstrom played a strong game, stopping 32 of the 35 shots he faced. He might have wanted the first one back that beat him short side, but he had no chance on the other two goals. He made 9 huge stops when Minnesota had the man advantage
  • Lots of special team chances with 13 power plays combined (7 for the Canucks and 6 for the Wild). The Canucks must be better on their power play. They looked horrendous in the first period and gave up what could have been a costly tying goal. The Canucks are too predictable when they don’t succeed with the man advantage and teams know they the Canucks will use the drop pass when coming back up the ice after a clear. Jake Virtanen made the second unit more effective.
  • Some early injury concerns for the Canucks. Tyler Toffoli was unable to play tonight with a rumored foot injury (the team won’t say anything until after the playoffs or unless he is definitely done for the year with a broken foot). Michael Ferland left the game after blocking a shot. He lasted just a couple of shifts. Antoine Roussel was also forced to leave the game after taking a deflected puck to the face. He undoubtedly needed some stitches. Hopefully he’ll be good to go Thursday
  • The Canucks dominated the faceoff circle, winning 63% of the draws tonight, led by Jay Beagle, who won 75% of the draws he took. Bo Horvat (71% success rate), Brandon Sutter (56% success rate), and JT Miller (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks banged out 19 hits, led by Alex Edler, who had 3 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 13 shots, led by Edler and Beagle, who both had three blocked shots
  • Up next, the Canucks look to gain the advantage in the series with their second straight win. The Wild will get last change the next two games as the “home” team. It’s an early start time (11:37PST). Being creatures of habit, both teams will see their game day routines thrown out of whack with the start time after the first two games were played at the normal time teams play (7:30 in the evening). Which team will shake off the cobwebs and win the crucial third game, putting the other team at the brink of elimination?
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