Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes the save on Vegas Golden Knights’ William Carrier (28) during third period NHL Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff action in Edmonton on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Demko’s stellar 43-save effort lifts Canucks past Golden Knights 2-1

Netminder keeps Vancouver alive in NHL playoff series with Vegas

Thatcher Demko made 43 saves in his first ever NHL playoff start, and the Vancouver Canucks kept their season alive with a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday in Edmonton.

Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson scored for Vancouver, which cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven second-round series. Game 6 goes Thursday.

Demko got the nod after Jacob Markstrom, the Canucks’ regular starter, was deemed unable to play and didn’t dress. Demko battled a fierce Vegas attack all night long and an avalanche of shots: redirects, one-timers, odd-man rushes and goalmouth scrambles.

Pettersson broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period for the winner, redirecting a Boeser wrist shot from the blue-line past Vegas goalie Robin Lehner. It’s his seventh goal of the playoffs.

Shea Theodore, with his fifth goal of the playoffs, replied for Vegas while Lehner made 16 saves in the loss and is now 7-3 in the post-season.

The Golden Knights were outshooting Vancouver 24-7 late in the second period when Theodore broke the ice, dipsy-doodling around two Canucks, walking into the slot untouched and firing a shot high glove-side and in.

Vancouver responded just 24 seconds later. Boeser, playing give-and-go with J.T. Miller on a 2-on-1, redirected a Miller pass on the backhand past Lehner. It was just the Canucks’ eighth shot on net.

The goal was no doubt sweet relief for Boeser. He had been facing criticism as a top-six forward getting top-six minutes but, heading into Tuesday, racking up only 20 shots on net and three goals in the post-season.

It was Demko’s first start in almost six months. His last start was March 10, two days before the NHL’s regular season was halted, and ultimately cancelled, due to COVID-19.

Prior to Tuesday, the 24-year-old had seen 8:26 of playoff action in 2020, mopping up for Markstrom in the third period of a 5-0 Vegas blowout in Game 1.

Drafted by Vancouver in the second round in 2014, Demko served as the backup to Markstrom in the regular season, making 25 starts and compiling a 13-10-2 record (3.06 goals-against average, .905 save percentage).

READ MORE: Pacioretty nets 2 as Vegas rallies to dump Vancouver 5-3

Markstrom, in his first NHL playoffs, has been the workhorse for Vancouver, starting 14 games in 29 days, with an 8-6 record, stopping 451 shots (2.85 GAA, .919 save percentage) and recording his first playoff shutout by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-0.

He has often kept Vancouver in games, facing more than 30 shots a night. In 15 playoff games, the Canucks have been outshot by their opponent 13 times (they registered more shots twice in the Minnesota series).

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

COVID on Central Coast prompts call for information sharing

At least four cases have been identified on the central coast

NAALS receives funding for new child care centre

This project incorporates a longhouse design and reflects a Nuxalk architectural approach.

Lorena Draney celebrates 100th birthday in Bella Coola

She still knows how to enjoy a good party!

Smoky skies from US wildfires continue to affect Bella Coola

There is a special air quality warning in effect from Environment Canada for our region

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read