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Game #54 – Calgary Flames (25-26-3) @ Vancouver Canucks (22-28-4) – game recap

The Canucks continued their slow march to the merciful end to the 2021 season. Tonight, they opened a final three game set against the  Flames. All eyes may not be on this game with a playoff game potentially in play. The NHL opted to start the playoffs while the Canucks still had games to play since the Canucks and Flames are both going to miss the playoffs. Jonah Gadjovic made his NHL debut tonight with the Utica Comets season over and the limit to recalls now over. Braden Holtby got the start in goal and he and Thatcher Demko will split the games Tuesday and Wednesday too with back to back and travel. Olli Juolevi and Nate Schmidt drew back into the lineup for Jack Rathbone and Tyler Myers. Could the Canucks make it two wins in a row? Here is tonight’s game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Canucks opened tbe scoring nine and a half minutes into the game off a horrible turnover at the Canucks blueline that ex-Canuck Josh Leivo stole and beat Canucks goalie Braden Holtby with a slick forehand-backhand deke
  • The Flames added a goal just under 6 minutes into the 2nd period as Milan Lucic snapped one by Holtby
  • Twenty-nine seconds later, Matthew Tkachuk deftly fired a puck off the end board and beat Holtby by getting his own rebound
  • Forty-eight seconds later, Andrew Mangiapane one-timed a brillant pass from Dillion Dube top corner on Holtby
  • Just over 5 minutes later, the Canucks got one back as Travis Hamonic raced down the wing and snapped one far side on Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom
  • Forty-two secods later, Mangiapane drilled a one-timer past a screened Markstrom
  • The Canucks got one back two and a half minutes into the 3rd period as Tyler Graovac
  • Just over five minutes later, Brock Boeser cracked a one-timer by Markstrom for a PP marker
  • Just under 4 minutes later, JT Miller ripped a one-timer by Markstrom for a SH marker
  • Six and a half minutes after that, Boeser tipped a howitzer by Alex Edler by Markstrom
  • The Flames won it just under three and a half minutes into overtime as an attempted centering feed by Elias Lindholm ticked off a Canucks stick and by Holtby
  • Braden Holtby stopped 30/36 shots
  • Final score: Flames 6 Canucks 5 (OT loss)

My Take:

  • Braden Holtby didn’t have his best night in a Canucks uniform. To his credit, he battled on after giving up 4 goals on 16 shots in the 3rd period, stopping all 8 Flames shots to give his team a shot to equal the four goal outburst by the Flames a period later. It will be interesting to see how Holtby and Demko perform the final start of the season knowing their goalie coach Ian Clark is likely signing with someone else in the coming days. Both Holtby and Demko have thrived under Clark’s guidance (it took Holtby a bit longer to unlearn his old habits)
  • It was milestone night at Roger’s Arena. Bo Horvat played his 500th career game, Adam Ruzicka and Jonah Gadjovic both played their first career games, Ian Clark worked game #1500. Alex Edler just about got his 100th career goal too, but it was credited to Boeser, who tipped it home
  • Travis Green deserves a contract extension for how he dealt with the rough secon period and inspired his team to come back with four unanswered goals.
  • JT Miller may be playing his best hockey in a Canucks uniform. He scored once and added 2 assists
  • Jonah Gadjovic had a forgettable night in his debut, earning 17 minutes in penalties for instigating a fight, and he was -1 playing 4:55
  • The Canucks won 51% of the faceoffs, led by Bo Horvat, who won 60% of the draws he took. Travis Boyd (58% success rate) also had a good night in the faceoff circle
  • The Canucks banged out 8 hits, led by Jayce Hawryluk, who had 2 hits tonight
  • The Canucks blocked 19 shots, led by Edler, who had 4 blocked shots tonight
  • Up next, the Canucks wrap up the home portion of the schedule. Look for Will Lockwood to make his NHL debut Tuesday.
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