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Game #40 – Ottawa Senators (17-26-4) @ Vancouver Canucks (18-19-3) – game recap

After a solid 2 wins in a row over the North Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs, including a come-from behind win in overtime just a few days after rising from their sick beds, the Canucks opened a 4-game set vs. the Ottawa Senators, with the latter 2 games in the nation’s capital. Alex Edler served the final game of his 2-game suspension for kneeing Zach Hyman, who’ll miss a couple of weeks with an MCL sprain. Thatcher Demko made his first start after recovering from COVID. He dressed last game, but backed up Braden Holtby. Matthew Highmore was promoted to the top 6, skating alongside Nils Hoglander and JT Miller. Marc Michaelis drew into the lineup for the injured Antoine Roussel, who’s expected to miss a couple of weeks with a lower body injury (thought to be the knee or thigh). Could the Canucks make it three straight wins since their team COVID-19 outbreak? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • Travis Hamonic received a misconduct five minutes into the game for starting a fight with Brady Tkachuk after the Sens forward threw a bad hit on a Canuck
  • The Senators opened the scoring just over nine minutes into the game as Tim Stutzle redirected a point shot by Nick Paul top corner on Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko for a PP marker
  • Just over ten and a half minute later, a centering feed by Josh Norris deflected off Tyler Myers’ skate and straight to Drake Batherson, who snapped it past Demko for a PP marker
  • The Senators added an empty-netter with 90 seconds left in the game. Connor Brown hit the back of the net from center ice for a shorthanded marker
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 22/24 shots
  • Final score: Senators 3 Canucks 0

My Take:

  • Thatcher Demko had a decent game, considering he hadn’t played in over a month and took longer recovering from COVID. Demko can’t be faulted for either goal (both results of deflections. The Canucks did a pretty good job of keeping shots to the outside. Demko faced a season-low 24 shots. Expect him to bounce back next game
  • So, the Canucks coaching staff is in contract limbo and so too, apparently is mascot Fin. The Aquilini Brothers better start opening those purse strings or we’ll see some valuable assets walking out the door
  • A fan flew a banner over the city that called for Jim Benning to be fired. It was interesting timing with the Canucks having beat the Leafs twice.
  • Tyler Myers and Quinn Hughes both played over 25 minutes. Jalen Chatfield saw just nine minutes of ice time. Green needs to manage the minutes as the team continues to recover from Covid-19. Plus the schedule is going to get ugly soon with 5 back-to-backs left to play over the next month and 11 of the final 16 games on the road, starting with an eastern swing in Ottawa Monday
  • Special teams was not so special tonight. Two of the three goals against were PP markers and the EN occurred when the Sens were shorthanded. The Canucks gave up an astonishing 11 shots while shorthanded. The goalie is supposed to be the best penalty killer. Not surprisingly, Demko’s timing was a bit off.
  • The Canucks won 65% of the faceoffs, led by Travis Boyd, who won 86% of the draws he took tonight. JT Miller (75% success rate), Bo Horvat (54% success rate) and Brandon Sutter (53% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks banged out 24 hits, led by Jake Virtanen, who had 4 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 13 shots, led by Olli Juolevi and Travis Hamonic, who each blocked 3 shots
  • Up next, the Canucks finish off the homestand before travelling with Ottawa to finish off the season series against the Senators in Ottawa starting Monday. Expect the same two goalies (Matt Murray and Demko) to be between the pipes Saturday
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