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Vancouver Canucks vs Toronto Maple Leafs Post Game Recap:

The Rundown

The Vancouver Canucks came into tonight with only 3 wins in their past 14 games. They were up against it again as the Toronto Maple Leafs waltzed into Rogers Arena with the 2nd best goals for, and goal differential in the league. The Canucks also found out Brandon Sutter’s season ended early, as he has to go for his 2nd sports hernia surgery. On top of the Sutter injury, both Ben Hutton and Ryan Spooner weren’t able to play tonight for the Canucks. Jakob Markstrom got the start for the Canucks, as he attempted to drag the boys to a rare win.

1st Period

Both teams came out of the gate with a blistering pace, and exchanged some solid chances early. 2:30 minutes in, the Canucks generated their first chance when Markus Granlund fed Tanner Pearson right by the near face-off circle, only to be stopped by Frederick Andersen. A minute later, the Leafs got a similar chance off the stick of Mitch Marner, but Markstrom was there to shut the door. Right after the Marner shot, Pearson came down the far wing, and was slashed by Jake Muzzin. The woeful Canucks power-play went to work, as they tried to improve on a 1 for 21 skid and take the lead early against Toronto.

The Canucks power-play generated one great chance 5 seconds in, but Andersen was there to make a fantastic glove stop. The rest of the power-play looked like it has for the past month… terrible, and the Canucks couldn’t convert.

Around the 7:30 minute mark of the period, the Leafs tried a play which looked eerily similar to the Elias Pettersson off the corner boards pass to Brock Boeser against the Colorado Avalanche earlier this year. Morgan Rielly made the pass, Marner received it but couldn’t bury it past Markstrom… What a play though.

As the 10 minute mark of the period came and went, both teams looked fantastic. A wonderful sight for Canucks fans to see the team play hard against a top team (as hard as it is for me to admit it).

The furious pace kept up for the next 5 minutes, and right around the 15 minute mark the Canucks generated another quality chance right in front. Antoine Roussel hustled hard after a loose puck in the far corner, and played it out front. Tyler Motte raced onto it, and deflected it towards goal but Andersen stood tall and made his 11th stop through the period.

The Canucks kept up their high level of play right to the end of the frame, but these 2 teams were stuck at a scoreless tie after 1. A beautiful period of hockey to watch for Vancouver, as the Canucks out-shot the Leafs 14-8 after one of their best periods of hockey in a while.

2nd Period

The Canucks started the middle frame with much less urgency then they started the 1st, and it resulted in an early power-play opportunity for Toronto. Around the 4 minute mark of the frame, Derrick Pouliot hit his man up high with his stick, and the Canucks penalty kill had to attempt to stop the loaded Leafs power-play.

The Canucks penalty kill struggled at times, but didn’t break and killed off the man advantage. There wasn’t too many dangerous scoring chances until around the 8 minute mark, when Luke Schenn got tripped up at the Leafs blue-line and Tyler Ennis came down the left wing. However, Ennis’ shot wasn’t hard to stop for Markstrom, and he steered it out of play.

Play tightened up for the next few minutes, and around the 11 minute mark of the frame the Canucks received their 2nd power-play of the night. Patrick Marleau got called for a hook, and Vancouver looked to capitalize.

However, the Canucks power-play looked worse than earlier, and ended up giving up the first goal of the game. The Leafs created a nice 2 on 1, led by Marner. Marner made a move, and then fed the puck over to Ron Hainsey, who deposited the puck into a wide open net to give the Leafs the lead right as the Canucks’ power-play was set to expire.

Things went from bad to worse for the Canucks, as right after the Leafs got 1, they added another around the 13 minute mark of the period. Rielly shot a puck through Markstrom in his hometown to make it 2-0 for the Leafs… A goal Markstrom wished he had back.

The 2 quick goals looked like it killed the Canucks momentum, and if it weren’t for some great bounce back stops from Markstrom, the damage could’ve been worse. Vancouver got 1 last chance right at the end of the period, but Bo Horvat was robbed by Andersen, and the Canucks trailed by 2 as they got ready for the 3rd period.

3rd Period

The Canucks started the 3rd much better than the 2nd, and Vancouver was able to get an early goal. Adam Gaudette made a nice backhand pass to Loui Eriksson, and Eriksson beat Anderson with a backhander from the face-off circle for his first goal in 18 games 2:30 minutes in.

A minute after the Eriksson tally, the Leafs took a too many men penalty. The Canucks power-play was forced to step back out onto the ice, and they attempted to tie the game up.

Low and behold the power-play actually scored!! Nikolay Goldobin continued his great play of late, and made a nice play to stick handle his way over the blue line and feed a streaking Josh Leivo. Leivo unloaded a fantastic wrist shot to beat Andersen and tie the game up at 2 against his former team 5 minutes into the period!

A minute after the Canucks tied it up, it was up to Markstrom to preserve it. Marner feathered a pass over to John Tavares, who was robbed by the glove of Markstrom.

The Canucks kept up their strong play through the first half of the 3rd, and looked to hand the Leafs their first loss of the season after they led through 2 periods.

The Canucks received a fortunate call around the 13:30 minute mark of the period, when the officials decided to call a penalty against Rielly when he closed his hand on the puck. It was tough to see, but the Canucks went to their 4th power-play of the game.

Unfortunately, their 4th power-play looked more like the first 2 then the previous one that scored, with one cross ice chance coming right as the penalty expired. Boeser was the one who fed Horvat across the ice, but Andersen got across to make the save.

These 2 teams kept up their tight play throughout the remainder of the 3rd period, and this game went to some 3 on 3 action.

Overtime

The Canucks kept up their play into the extra frame, and 1:30 into overtime got the first great chance when Pettersson skated up the left wing and fired a shot on Andersen that he easily stopped with the pad.

However, a few minutes later it’s the Canucks who won the game in overtime!! Alex Edler took the feed from Boeser, and unloaded a wicked snapshot that beat Anderson underneath his glove for the winner!

Advanced Stats

Both photos courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

Wrap Up

The Canucks pulled off an improbable comeback against a team that hadn’t lost a game this season when they led a game through 2 periods. The boys played great in the first, third, and the overtime frame and came away with the win.

Jakob Markstrom had himself another fantastic night in goal for the Canucks, even after he gave up a soft one. In the past, Markstrom may have given up a goal like that and let it completely deflate him and shake his confidence, but tonight he came back and slammed the door on the Maple Leafs. Even the best goaltenders let in a soft one now and then, and while Markstrom isn’t considered a top goaltender at the moment, his play since December has been one of the bright spots on the season and he continued his strong play tonight. The Canucks don’t win this game without Markstrom, and he continued his MVP like performance for this group.

The Canucks power-play actually scored a goal tonight, and they came away with the win. While I wasn’t a fan of the way the power-play looked for a majority of the game when they set up, and they did give up their 8th short handed goal against, they at least put one on the board when they needed too. (I can’t wait for Quinn Hughes to show up though, goodness…)

The Canucks secondary scoring came through tonight, but Pettersson, Boeser, and Horvat couldn’t put one home. Pettersson has now gone 8 games without a goal, and Boeser has gone 7. Despite this, I thought each of them played a solid game, and Boeser did get an assist on the OT winner. Every player goes through a slump, and if the Canucks secondary scoring can start to pick up the slack, it should help the big 3 break theirs.

A nice win for the boys to get some confidence back and move forward. They don’t get to rest on their laurels for too long, as they’ll face the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    Good game for the boys. Bad night for #teamtank but that’s ok, plenty more nights to come down the stretch.
    Another solid performance by Markstrom.
    Boeser seems to be trying to do too much by himself some shifts. It’s weird but unsurprising how little legs the entire team had for an afternoon affair, and yet they all played with high energy and speed tonight.

  • LTFan

    This was a different group than the group that played Vegas on Sunday – had to be. It is always nice to beat the Leafs in Vancouver and shut down the obnoxious Leaf fans. Coming from behind to win in OT – sweet.. Edler, who would not waive his NT contract to the dismay of some on this site, with the winner. Loved it.

    • Gaudette’s first multi-point game was a goal and assist on February 14 against LA. Based on his past play in the NCAA and AHL, it’s not inconceivable that he could be a legitimate 2C in his prime (although a really good 3C seems more likely).

      • Fred-65

        I have to say I like Gaudettes game it seems to me it’s steadily improving his game. He followed the same track at N’Eastern so who knows maybe next season as he learns to relax and play his game we might see a big jump in his production. Basically it’s finger crossed and a nod to JB for giving the kid the chnace to play this season by sending down Gagner.

        Last but not least if TO is such a great place how come so many live in Vcr. It was nice to see the Laff fans leaving last night dragging thier lips along the sidewalk LOL

  • crofton

    Will the real Vancouver Canucks please stand up? This was one of their best games of the season and it shows how good they can be when they play with spirit and as a team. Green had them playing again, and it’s not like Toronto played poorly.

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    I was at the game tonight and I had a lot of fun battling with the Leaf fans. Some of them are so damn obnoxious and some took the loss with sportsmanship. Boeser and Petey we’re having a hard time tonight, but so we’re some of the Laffs. Tavares and Matthews also didn’t seem very remarkable. Marner was their best forward.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Even though they play in the east I’ve always thought TOR was Vancouver’s greatest, most intense rival since Day One. The building is always electric when they come here which is what hockey is all about IMO. If the Canucks played like that every night the way they did against the Leafs this evening as opposed to VGK you’d be planning playoff parties promptly. Good show guys and Goldy and Gaudette most of all.

  • Rodeobill

    I think Gaudette has earned himself some more ice time in my books, and so has Goldy, not only was he consistently our most creative forward this game, but he had some really good defensive plays too. Boeser should always shoot the puck or pass as soon as he gets it, if he tries to handle it for more than a second, he loses it. Levio had a great game too. Also, Biega and Stetcher made some really good plays tonight, they both looked creative and dynamic. Schenn looks like he is trying to skate with clown shoes on, but at least he does get those outlet passes down. Would have been happy with the win or loss, but now feel happier with the win with all those leafs fans lousing up our stadium.

    • canuckfan

      I think that Jake and Goldobin would make great line mates for Gaudette. If that line did work out we could have 3 pretty good offensive lines to push the pace in games rather than sitting back and waiting for something to happen. With a fourth line of Beagle, Sutter, and Eriksson.
      With Markstrom playing the way he has been we are in every game man he has been playing lights out.

  • TheRealPB

    Enjoyable game, especially with Hutton out of the lineup. Lot of credit to Biega who has looked really effective in faster-paced games, and I loved Gaudette’s game throughout. Poor Schenn got walked a few times and Pettersson still looks gassed to me (though I thought matched up against Matthews he was again strong defensively). Overall though as you say in the recap the Canucks went toe to toe and didn’t look out of place. I’m surprised by how invisible Nylander looks in general — that holdout hasn’t been kind to him, Ennis has more points in about as many games. Kapanen and Johnsson have looked more dangerous. But Marner looks like the real star of that team, even more than Tavares and Matthews. Rielly was pretty impressive too. Loved Edler’s whole game; if not for some stellar saves on both ends this would’ve been a much higher scoring affair.

  • canuckfan

    Just too funny how the player interviewed between the second and third period where the commentator says while you guys are 32 and 0 coming into the third period being up by a couple goals and then the Leaf says I wish you hadn’t said that and then wham game tied and Canucks win in overtime.
    Canucks play good while they are applying pressure and have a tough time sitting back playing a defensive game.
    Good fun to beat the Leafs even with the injuries. Leafs are not going to make it past the Bruins and will be out and in a real mess their fans will rip mananagement to pieces and the coaches head will be called for. Nice fourth line though. lol

  • Kootenaydude

    Horvat “The Beast” 21-8 in the faceoff circle. I never even heard the play by play guy mention the name Tavares or Matthews last night. Except for the glove save by Marky on Tavares. While Boeser and Pettersson are tiring out. Horvat has played wayyyy more minutes and is still bringing it. No matter who is on his wing. When are they finally going to give this guy the C on his chest?!

  • Locust

    Most exciting game of the year!
    Fast paced, great transitions and nice to see the boys flying into space to receive passes at speed.
    Not even CA can douche this one.

  • DJ_44

    The powerplay, despite Leivo’s rush goal, was brutal. Energy sapping.

    The short term solution: 3-F, 2-D, jam the net and shot the puck. No cross-ice passes, no looking for one-timers that are not there. The absolute basics.

    Great effort. On to Edmonton.

  • Goon

    Disappointed that I missed this game – it sounds like a fun one.

    Minor correction / pet peeve: It’s “Lo and Behold”, not “Low and Behold”. “Lo” is to look. “Low” don’t make no sense.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    As a long time hater of the Leaves, that game made me very happy. Two things in particular. 1) Leivo is looking like an absolute steal. I know Toronto had no room for him, but he has been very good since his arrival here. Better in fact than 2) Nylander! the fact that they have $45 million tied up in that guy for the next 6 years is heartwarming. 5 goals 16 assists in 39 games. Playing on the 2nd highest scoring team in the league. Oh, the humanity!

      • Beer Can Boyd

        You barely heard his name last night. Invisible. And that stupid contract is the gift that keeps on giving for Leaves haters. Its going to screw up their salary cap options for its entire duration.

    • TD

      Nylander’s numbers may go up if he gets on one of the top two lines, but he isn’t doing much on his own. Obvious talent, but he has ridden shotgun with Matthews for his two 60 point seasons.

  • eks14

    Fantastic effort all around tonight, but I think Stecher’s solid, solid game deserves some praise as well. Nothing flashy, but absolutely played a large role in the team’s success tonight too.