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Game #46 – Edmonton Oilers (31-17-2) @ Vancouver Canucks (19-24-3) – game recap


After a dreadful road trip where the Canucks went 0-4 against Ottawa and Toronto, getting out scored 17-6, the Canucks returned home for a brief 2-game stint before going on a six game road trip. Off the ice, there was turmoil on the weekend when Jake Virtanen was placed on leave for an alleged sexual assault that took place at the team hotel during training camp 2017. None of the allegations have been proven and the burden of proof falls to the victim, as in Canada you are considered innocent until proven guilty. With so much time passed, physical evidence will be gone and it might be difficult to get security footage from that far back. No doubt Virtanen will have the backing of a strong legal team as a member of the Canucks. The Canucks were further shorthanded tonight with upper body injuries to Brandon Sutter and Marc Michaelis. Tyler Graovac and Jack Rathbone were recalled from the taxi squad. Jonah Gadjovic was recalled from Utica and will meet the team in Winnipeg next week. Braden Holtby got the start in net. Could the Canucks snap the 4-game losing streak? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Oilers opened the scoring just over three and a half minutes into the game as Jesse Puljujarvi finished off a pretty tic-tac-goal play
  • Just under nine and a half minutes later, Nate Schmidt wired a seeing-eye shot through traffic and by Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen
  • The Oilers retook the lead 18 seconds into the 2nd period as Tyson Barrie was johnny on the spot to poke  a rebound past Canucks goalie Braden Holtby
  • Just over 15 minutes later, Connor McDavid rushed in from center ice off a turnover and wired a shot that Holtby couldn’t squeeze with his body
  • Forty-three seconds later, JT Miller lifted one over the glove of Koskinen on a sweet forehand-backhand deke
  • Two minutes later, Dominik Kahun hammered a one-timer past Holtby
  • The Canucks got one back 16 and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Brock Boeser beat Koskinen blocker side off a set faceoff play
  • Two and a half minutes later, McDavid scored his second of the night, scoring an empty-netter
  • Braden Holtby stopped 27/31 shots
  • Final score: Oilers 6 Canucks 4

My Take:

  • Braden Holtby had a bit of a rough night. He defeinitely will want a couple of the goals back, in particular the Tyson Barrie goal, which he failed to control the rebound on and Connor McDavid’s first goal, which went between the arm and the body. Unfortunately, with a ridiculous schedule with travel, back-to-backs and 6 off-days left and ten games left, including tomorrow night, there will be precious little, if any time for a practice. Travis Green even said that any practices might only include players who don’t get a ton of playing time and maybe the goalies.
  • The second period was, and will likely continue to be an achilles heel for the Canucks with players still recovering from COVID, playing hurt and tired. The second period is where the long change occurs. Tonight, the Oilers struck three times in the middle frame, including a back breaker with 45 seconds left in the 2nd period and just a couple of minutes after the Canucks had come within a goal of the Oilers
  • Give the team credit, they were trying the entire game, even with the playoffs almost completely gone and being shorthanded, especially at forward, not to mention the distraction of the Sexual assault allegations vs. Jake Virtanen, the Canucks still hung with the Oilers and had a chance to tie with under three minutes to go
  • Neither team converted on their lone PP opportunity. The Canucks managed 2 shots on their man advantage and the Oilers did not register a shot on their PP. Neither team got a shorthanded chance
  • The Canucks won 52% of the draws, led by Jayce Hawryluk, who won every draw he took. Bo Horvat (67% success rate), Travis Boyd (60% success rate) and Matthew Highmore (50% success rate) also had good nights in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks outhit the Oilers 19-13, led by Hawryluk, who banged out 3 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 17 shots, led by Alex Edler and Travis Hamonic, who both blocked 3 shots tonight
  • Up next, the same two teams meet again tomorrow night in Vancouver, before the series shifts to Edmonton for games Thursday and Saturday. Expect Thatcher Demko and Mike Smyth to be the goalies tomorrow night. The Canucks may swap bodies depending on how the players are feeling physically
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