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Game #51 – Vancouver Canucks (21-27-3) @ Winnipeg Jets (29-23-3) – game recap

After a strong win vs. the Jets last night, the Canucks were looking to make it two wins in a row. With two more back-to-backs on the horizon and the team ending the season with a ridiculous 7 games in 9 days, Braden Holtby, who starts tonight, will get at least three more starts. The Canucks were officially eliminated from the playoffs last night after Montreal earned a point in their game. It’s disheartening for me to see so-called “fans” cheering for the Canucks to lose for a better draft pick. These players are professional athletes and some will be playing for jobs next year or bigger roles than they have. This Canucks fan will never cheer for the Canucks to lose. I cheer for my team win or lose. Am I disappointed they won’t win the Stanley Cup for the 51st consecutive year? Of course. Like any off-season, there will be hard decisions to make and those decisions will start to take place in these final six games as the coaching staff and management watches the team play the final 6 games. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring just under 8 minutes into the game as Kyle Connor snapped the puck five-hole on Canucks goalie Braden Holtby
  • The Jets added a goal just over 2 minutes into the 3nd period as Blake Wheeler grabbed a loose puck, walked in and beat Holtby with  a slick forehand-backhand deke
  • Six and a half minutes later, Mark Scheifele tipped one by Holtby
  • The Jets added a goal just under 11 minutes into the 3rd period as Wheeler completed a give-and-go with Connor, depositing the one-timer by Holtby
  • Seventy seconds later, Mason Appleton wheeled and fired a shot top corner on Holtby
  • Braden Holtby stopped 31/36 shots
  • Final score: Jets 5 Canucks 2

My Take:

  • Braden Holtby definitely wants the 1st goal back. He didn’t have much chance on the other goals Winnipeg scored on him. He didn’t get much help defensively either as the Canucks looked like they were playing on fumes and overmatched against the playoff-bound Jets
  • This game was meaningless to the Canucks, but the Jets had something to play for – playoff positioning. Neither the Leafs nor the Oilers are going to be an easy matchup, but the Oilers may be a tad more favorable to play
  • This was a good test for the Canucks to see how they have to play to compete for a playoff spot. For sure there were mitigating factors tonight, but the Canucks looked quite overmatched against a deeper opponent. Two Canucks that especially struggled tonight were Jayce Hawryluk, who was on the ice for 4 of the goals against and Tyler Graovac, who showed his frustration in the third period taking a roughing minor with five minutes left. Bo Horvat looked frustrated too, smashing his stick against the boards after a tough shift
  • The Canucks won 48% of the draws, led by Bo Horvat, who won 53% of the draws he took. Everyone else had a below 50% success rate in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks banged out 15 hits, led by Tyler Graovac, who banged out 4 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 15 shots, led by Tyler Myers and Jack Rathbone, who both blocked 3 shots tonight.
  • Up next, the Canucks head to Calgary, to take on the Flames, who will also be missing the playoffs, and they are probably more disappointed than the Canucks fan base, given all the Canucks players they signed in the off-season. Calgary has won 4 of the 6 meetings this season, three in regulation. Expect the Canucks to get a look at Jonah Gadjovic Thursday.
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