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

Tree protection advisory committee members appointed in Langley Township

Volunteers will provide guidance on protection, preservation, and planting of trees in township

Eric Woodward Foundation takes over management of Fort Langley Cranberry Festival

Annual Thanksgiving event was cancelled for 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

VIDEO: Fall storm hits Langley, leaves hundreds without power

Risk of thunderstorm remain in Thursday forecast

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

Langley4Langley food bank fundraiser extends deadline to Sept. 30

Participants can log activity online and take part in 10 km virtual fun run in Derby Reach

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

Most Read