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Game #38 – Toronto Maple Leafs (28-12-5) @ Vancouver Canucks (17-18-3) – game recap

After a three week hiatus, two of which was due to an out break of the P1 variant of COVID-19, the Canucks got back on the ice after 3 practices. For the record, it’s crazy that the league is making the Canucks play so many games in such a short time frame. Don’t be surprised if the games against Ottawa, already basically irrelevant, are knocked off the schedule. Braden Holtby got the start and Mike Dipietro backed him up with Thatcher Demko not yet ready to play. Most of the regulars were playing except Petey (still dealing with wrist injury), Jay Beagle (still injured undisclosed), Tyler Motte, Jake Virtanen, Nate Schmidt (COVID, latter 2 still in protocol). To me, the score tonight is irrelevant. It’s about the team making it through the game. Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Maple Leafs opened the scoring just under 4 minutes into the game as The Maple Leafs forced a turnover in the neutral zone and William Nylander snapped it home low glove side on Braden Holtby
  • The Maple Leafs added a goal just under 15 minutes into the 2nd period as Auston Matthews roofed one over Holtby for a PP marker
  • The Canucks got one back 86 seconds later, as Bo Horvat took an outlet pass and walked in snapping it past Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell. The goal was pretty similar to the Leafs opening goal
  • The Canucks tied the game 12 minutes into the 3rd period as Nils Hoglander was johnny on the spot to roof a loose puck
  • The Canucks got lucky when it appeared the Leafs had scored a late goal with nineteen seconds left in the 3rd period, but it was ruled the puck did not completely cross the line
  • The Canucks won it just over a minute into OT as Bo Horvat snapped it short side on Campbell
  • Braden Holtby stopped 37/39 shots
  • Final score: Canucks 3 Maple Leafs 2 (OT Win)

My Take:

  • The whole team played a gutsy game coming back from having had COVID-19 to three practices to playing the best team in the league. The Canucks fell behind and both goals were turnovers and the players were simply unable to get back defensively. However, the boys chipped away at the lead, tied it in the 3rd period and Horvat put on the proverbial cape one more time and sniped a puck home short side
  • Braden Holtby had his best game as a Canuck, stopping 37/39 shots, including 14/15 in the 2nd period to keep the score close. His best save was a windmill-like pad stop on William Nylander. He got fortunate with 19 seconds left when the puck appeared to cross the line, but officials couldn’t definitively say if the puck was completely across the line. Also, there was a whistle on the play.
  • Alex Edler was kicked out of the game halfway through the 2nd period for inadvertently kneeing Leafs forward Zach Hyman, who left the game himself and did not return. Expect Edler to get a hearing and possible suspension, even though he was exhausted and merely trying to get back to the bench
  • Tyler Myers played an unbelievable 30 minutes and blocked a team-high 5 shots
  • The Canucks won 47% of the faceoffs, led by Marc Michaelis, Tyler Graovac and Antoine Roussel, who each won every draw they took
  • The Canucks banged out 11 hits, led by Myers, who had 3 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 23 shots led by Myers, who blocked 5 shots
  • Up next, these two teams meet again in 48 hours. Expect a similar lineup, minus potentially a suspended Edler.
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