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

Volunteers step up during pandemic to work on Shuswap trails

New Shuswap Memorial Cemetery Trails loop ready to hike and ride

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. forestry policy and practices challenged at Shuswap rally

Salmon Arm Rally for the Forests one of 16 similar events held Friday

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

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

Former Kelowna cop faces fourth lawsuit alleging sexual assault

Ex-Mountie Brian Mathew Burkett is also separately facing seven charges of breach of trust

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Reward offered for return of Okanagan puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from its Kelowna Friday, Sept. 18

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Okanagan company backs Orange Shirt Day contest

Vernon-based Tolko Industries sponsors art contest open to kids from kindergarten to Grade 12

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

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

Most Read