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Canucks game day: A Demko sighting in Sin City; DeSmith starts against Golden Knights

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Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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After nine straight games on home ice, the Vancouver Canucks (46-20-8) play their first road game in nearly four weeks when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights (41-25-8) in a Pacific Division showdown.
The Canucks last road game was also in Sin City when they posted a 3-1 victory on March 7th.

What we saw

Thatcher Demko made a surprise appearance at the end of the Canucks optional skate in Vegas this morning. It’s the first time he’s been seen on the ice since injuring his knee on March 9th against Winnipeg. Demko remains on the long term injury list until Saturday. But this represents a promising step in his recovery.
Based on Dan Murphy’s report from T-Mobile Arena, Casey DeSmith will get the start in goal. This will be his eighth start in the team’s last night games. However, he hasn’t played since a 3-1 loss to Dallas last Thursday as he served as back-up to Arturs Silovs for Sunday’s 3-2 win over Anaheim.
The Canucks will go with the same forward group they have used in the past two games. Brock Boeser left midway through practice on Monday, but will play tonight and skate with Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander. Nikita Zadorov returns to the line-up after being a healthy scratch on Sunday.
Dakota Joshua scored twice against the Ducks including the game winner with 2:13 remaining in the third period. Brock Boeser opened the scoring with his 38th goal of the season. JT Miller added a pair of assists boosting his point total for the season to 94 as he closes in on the first 100-point season of his career.
The Canucks went two for four with the man-advantage marking the first time since February 6th in Carolina that the Canucks had scored multiple power play goals in a game.
Weeks after recording his 400th NHL point in Vegas, Elias Pettersson will play his 400th NHL game there tonight. In his first 399 contests, Pettersson has 169+238=407. He is tied with Don Lever for 12th in all time franchise scoring and needs two points to catch Alex Edler for a share of 11th.
The Canucks posted a 5-3-1 record on their three week homestand outscoring opponents 26-19. The team has not allowed more than three goals in regulation time in its last 12 games. Colorado in a 4-3 overtime win is the only opponent to score four against the Canucks since a 5-1 loss to Los Angeles on February 29th.
The Golden Knights have been idle since a 2-1 overtime win in Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. Jonathan Marchessault scored the winner into an empty net after the Wild – desperate to remain in the playoff chase – pulled its netminder for an extra attacker in the three-on-three session. Michael Amadio scored the Knights other goal tying the game with six minutes remaining in the third period.
Jack Eichel was ejected from the game after being assessed a spearing major and game misconduct late in the second period.
Vegas has posted back to back victories and is 5-0-1 in its last six outings. The club is 8-2-1 in its last 11 games. That coincides with the acquisitions of Noah Hanafin and Anthony Mantha at the NHL trade deadline. Vegas sits third in the Pacific Division five points behind Edmonton and three in front of the Los Angeles Kings.
Marchessault leads the Knights with 40 goals and 63 points joining William Karlsson (43 in 2017-18) as the only 40-goal scorers in franchise history.. As a team, the defending champs are 15th in the league in offence averaging 3.16 goals per game. At 18.3%, they have the 21st ranked power play in the NHL.
With Adin Hill injured, Logan Thompson has stepped up in goal winning his past five starts giving up just one goal in each game. He made 32 saves in Saturday’s victory at Minnesota and 38 saves in a 4-1 win in Winnipeg last Thursday. For his efforts, Thompson was named NHL 2nd Star of the Week on Monday.
Tonight is the Knights lone home game at T-Mobile Arena in the midst of an eight game stretch. They have come off four straight on the road and after tonight will head out on a three-game trip that will take them to Arizona, Vancouver and Edmonton. They will be at Rogers Arena next Monday to round out the four-game season series. So far each team has posted a win in the other team’s building.
The Canucks and Knights have identical 6-6 records in games decided in overtime.
Today’s referees: Kelly Sutherland & Jon McIssac
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