Demko earns shutout as Canucks stay impregnable when main after two intervals


VANCOUVER – Nearly as good as he has been within the Nationwide Hockey League, among the many 10 finest goalies since he turned the Vancouver Canucks starter in 2020, Thatcher Demko had three shutouts earlier than this season. Three shutouts in 168 video games.

In his 34th sport this season, on Monday, Demko made 31 saves to earn his fifth shutout of the marketing campaign because the Canucks fought by way of an emotional letdown and beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 at Rogers Enviornment.

And whereas there may be an apparent correlation between the goaltender’s achievements and the crew in entrance of him and its embrace of coach Rick Tocchet’s defensive rules, Demko deserves a variety of credit score for his 5 clear sheets. It’s not a shock, in any case, that he’s going to the All-Star Recreation subsequent week in Toronto, even when that call was decided by one thing as fickle as a fan vote.

Just like the Canucks, Demko appears nearly impregnable when up a objective within the third interval. Vancouver is now an absurd 29-0-1 when main after 40 minutes.

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Demko has stated many instances the statistic he cares most about are wins, and he now has 25 of these with almost three months remaining within the common season. However the shutouts should be no less than a bit of satisfying for the 28-year-old, who should have misplaced no less than a half-dozen of them within the ultimate minutes of video games the final three seasons when the Canucks had been nonetheless making an attempt to determine easy methods to defend and easy methods to win.

“I’m human, you understand,” Demko stated late Monday. “As a goalie, you’ve got one job and that’s to cease as many pucks as you’ll be able to, so it at all times feels good to get a clear sheet. However, I imply, there’s a lot else that occurs and goes into it. You need to have good guys in entrance of you enjoying exhausting and making good choices. And generally you want a few bounces, too.”

There wasn’t a lot luck concerned in Monday’s shutout. However there have been a variety of guys defending exhausting in entrance of him and limiting the Blackhawks’ high-quality scoring probabilities on an evening when the sport was an emotional slog for the Canucks. 

Their rollicking 6-4 win Saturday towards the Toronto Maple Leafs was most likely the game-of-the-season up to now at Rogers Enviornment.

“It wasn’t our highest-emotion sport however we held the fort, Demmer performed rather well and made some huge saves to maintain it a two-goal lead, particularly within the third, and two factors is 2 factors,” defenceman Tyler Myers stated. “We’re proud of it, however we have to come out tougher subsequent sport. We all know we now have extra to offer.

“It’s nice for Demmer. He deserves (the shutout) and is an unbelievable goalie. On the similar time, it feels nice for the fellows in entrance of him. Once we’re not letting a objective in, it’s telling us that we’re doing the best issues defensively and we’re defending the home. He made some huge saves tonight. He was on when he wanted to be, and he’s been like that since I’ve been right here.”

And but, solely the three shutouts earlier than this season, together with only one two seasons in the past when Demko performed 64 video games and was probably the greatest on this planet at his place.

“I truly noticed earlier than the 12 months that he solely had three shutouts,” checking centre Teddy Blueger, new to the Canucks this season, informed Sportsnet. “I used to be very stunned by it. We take delight in enjoying good defensively. I don’t know if essentially throughout the sport. . . we’re pondering ‘let’s get the shutout.’ It’s primarily a goalie stat. However it’s nice for him and I feel all of the boys are actually comfortable for him.”

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Pius Suter, on an exquisite spin-o-rama go from Andrei Kuzmenko, and defenceman Quinn Hughes scored for the Canucks within the first seven minutes. The convenience with which the Canucks constructed their lead towards one of many worst groups in hockey punctured no matter emotional urgency gamers had been capable of manufacture on a dreary Monday after a spectacular Saturday win.

Demko needed to be sharp.

He made point-blank saves towards Nick Foligno and Philipp Kurashev on a late Chicago energy play, and was relieved that Colin Blackwell shot broad on a breakaway after he torched Vancouver defenceman Filip Hronek with about eight minutes remaining.

“There’s a variety of emotion the final couple of weeks, three weeks, (and) the journey,” Tocchet stated. “Typically you’ve got these video games. . . that’s the place you depend on your (Nils) Hoglanders, your (Nils) Amans and the youthful guys to offer you juice, and I assumed they did. After which when you’ve got a man like Demmer, who’s rock stable for us, you are taking the 2 factors. You are taking the positives out of it. It’s two factors.”

Does Tocchet like shutouts?

“I really like shutouts,” he stated. “I’d somewhat win 2-0 than 8-4 any day of the week. It signifies that you’re. . . doing the best issues most instances whenever you get a shutout. I really like shutouts, particularly for a way exhausting Demmer works.”

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Demko stated shutouts are a crew accomplishment.

“100 per cent. There’s no denying that,” he stated.

There additionally no denying the Canucks have one thing particular going – even on nights after they don’t look particular besides for his or her resilience and resourcefulness.

On this NHL age of multi-goal collapses, deadly energy performs, and velocity and talent in better abundance than at another level in league historical past, how does any crew financial institution 59 out of 60 factors when main after two intervals?

“Someone threw that stat out to me a few weeks in the past and I had no thought,” Myers stated. “I didn’t know what to suppose. It simply goes to indicate that we’re enjoying exhausting inside a great system. Once we’re defending a lead as a lot as we’re going into final 20 minutes, it exhibits that we now have a system that works for us and that we’re enjoying it exhausting. It’s a great feeling. We simply must preserve ensuring that we don’t get happy and preserve making an attempt to get higher coming to the rink day by day.”

“I wasn’t conscious of that,” Blueger stated of the Canucks’ 29-0-1 report as third-period front-runners. “I don’t understand how a lot the opposite guys are conscious of that. I feel it’s simply one thing that if you wish to be a great crew happening the stretch, it’s sort of a bit of little bit of a talent that I feel we’re going to wish: shutting it down within the third, defending the lead and defending properly. That’s how I take a look at it.”

ICE CHIPS – Tocchet introduced after the morning skate that Carson Soucy will miss the subsequent 5 or 6 weeks after blocking a shot Saturday along with his hand. It’s the defenceman’s second bone fracture this season. He was changed Monday by Noah Juulsen. . . The St. Louis Blues go to the Canucks on Wednesday.

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