The Vancouver Canucks fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4–2 tonight aftergiving up the first goal of the game once again.
If there’s one thing that’s become clear it’s that this team misses Jacob Markstrom dearly.
A dip in success can be expected when any team loses its most valuable player, and that’s exactly what the Canucks are experiencing.
The Canucks defence isn’t great, but their starting goaltender has been better than great. The same applies to the Leafs, especially when it comes to their young and inexperienced defence corps.
Thatcher Demko looked shaky early on, allowing two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. Thankfully, his teammates went out and got two of their own to tie the game at two.
The Canucks tying the game allowed Demko to settle in for the remainder of the game, and it was a tightly contested game all the way through the second period and into the third.
Unfortunately for Demko and the Canucks, the Leafs took a 3-2 lead 18 seconds into the final frame, which would turn out to be the game-winner.
Tyler Motte opened the scoring for the Canucks, and Tanner Pearson (the only offensively talented winger on Bo Horvat’s line) scored a goal shortly after.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 1, 2020
Per StatsCentre, Pearson now has 17 goals in his last 46 games after starting the season with just 2 in the first 18. That ties J.T. Miller for the 2nd most of anyone on the Canucks since Nov 12 (behind only Elias Pettersson’s 19).
Demko has now had two games where he would have certainly liked to be better. Quite frankly, the Canucks need him to be better if they hope to remain in the fight until Markstrom returns from his injury. He let in two or three goals on Thursday night in Ottawa that he likely should have stopped, and one, maybe two, of the Leafs goals tonight were shots that Demko needs to stop.
There was some speculation in the market earlier this season that Markstrom could become expendable with the rise of Demko, but all we’ve learned so far from Markstrom’s injury is that Demko isn’t ready to be this team’s starter yet. This is very much still Markstrom’s team, and really, he can’t come back soon enough.
The Canucks are in Columbus tomorrow, and you have to wonder if Louis Domingue will get his first start as a Canuck, giving Demko a chance to regroup before the Canucks return home on Wednesday. Puck drop is at 4 PM tomorrow.