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Game #52 – Vancouver Canucks (21-28-3) @ Calgary Flames (24-26-3) – game recap

A note before the preamble, I’ll be doing recaps for the remaining five games. The last recap will be a bit later due to a weekly chiro appoinment and a day or two after the season ends, I’ll be posting a season review. The Canucks continued playing out the season after being officially eliminated from playoff contention on Monday. They were shutout by the Jets the next day. Tonight, the Canucks took on the Calgary Flames, who were also eliminated from the playoffs Monday. For Calgary, the playoff miss is probably more disappointing given how active they were in the off-season, signing several former Canucks: Josh Leivo, Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Louis Domingo. During the pregame presser, Travis Green all but confirmed that Elias Pettersson is out for the season, which has just 6 days left anyway. Pettersson has not played since March 2 with what is believed to be a wrist injury. He will have missed 30 games if he can’t make it back into the lineup, and really, with nothing to play for, he should be shut down and given a full off-season to heal up. Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle and Brandon Sutter are also expected to miss the remaining five games. Thatcher Demko got the start in net. Olli Juolevi drew into the lineup for Jack Rathbone. Will Lockwood and Jonah Gadjovic can only play either once the Utica Comets season ends Sunday or if injuries occur before that. Mike Dipietro will be the 3rd goalie for Team Canada at the World Championships. Could the Canucks beat their division rivals? Here is tonight’s game  recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened the scoring a minute into the game as Matthew Highlander tipped one past Flames Goalie Jacob Markstrom for his first goal as a Canuck
  • Just over two and a half minutes later, Rasmus Andersson buried a centering feed from Johnny Gaudreau past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko
  • Almost two miuntes after that, Andrew Mangiapane tipped a shot by Demko
  • The Flames added a goal fifteen and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Elias Lindholm walked in alone and snapped one glove side on Demko
  • Sixty-four seconds later, Lindholm flicked a one-timer over the glove of Demko for a PP marker
  • Thatcher Demko stopped 24/28 shots
  • Final score: Flames 4 Canucks 1

My Take:

  • It was one of those nights for Thatcher Demko and the Canucks, of which there have been a few this season, where the Canucks could have used an extra save from Demko. While he wasn’t at fault for any of the goals, he had a shot at the 3rd and maybe 4th goals, both of which beat him to the glove side. Three of the four goals were off deflections. With four games in five nights to end the season, Demko and Braden Holtby will split the next 4 games.
  • The challenge the next 4 games will be showing motivation for games that are meaningless in the standings.
  • Travis Hamonic and Quinn Hughes both had decent nights and were the only Canucks with a positive +/- rating
  • With Alex Edler still trying for that elusive 100th career goal, expect him to play all four games and potentially get time on the PP.
  • The Canucks won 61% of the faceoffs, led by Marc Michaelis and Matthew Highmore, who both won every draw they took. Bo Horvat (80% success rate) and Tyler Graovac both had strong nights in the faceoff dot
  • The Canucks banged out 11 hits, led by Alex Edler, who had three hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 12 shots, led by Olli Juolevi, who blocked 3 shots tonight
  • Up next, the Canucks wrap up the second-last road trip with a matinee Saturday in Edmonton (they also play the season finale in Calgary). As mentioned above, Holtby and Demko will split the next 2 games being back-to backs. They may give Holtby the start Saturday to give Demko another/extra crack at the Flames. It will be interesting to see how many veterans the Oilers choose to rest, given they start their playoff series vs. Winnipeg a couple of days later.
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