CanucksArmy post game: Canucks complete miraculous comeback on a night Thatcher Demko may never forget
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Still in search of their first home win of the season, the Vancouver Canucks had a matchup with the New York Rangers tonight from Rogers Arena.
Not to spoil the article, but you’ve already read the headline.
The Canucks completed a miraculous comeback, and in doing so, reminded everyone that hockey is allowed to be fun and chaotic in this city.
Here’s how the Canucks lineup looked.
Thatcher Demko started in goal for the Canucks, while Igor Shesterkin lined up opposite him for the Rangers.
Tonight marked Travis Hamonic’s first game of the season. After just one game with the Abbotsford Canucks and one practice with the big club, it was clear the Canucks wanted Hamonic back in their lineup as soon as possible, and rightfully so.
Let’s do this!
The Rangers got a chance very early on when Jason Dickinson found himself on defence defending a rush chance against. He got turn-styled and Thatcher Demko had to be sharp early.
Horvat’s line had a good shift shortly thereafter, and the captain found himself with a golden opportunity to open the scoring early on when he found himself with loads of time and space at the blue line.
With seemingly every one of the 18,000+ fans in attendance all screaming at him to shoot, Horvat let go of a wrister that Shesterkin managed to get a piece of.
With 11:29 remaining in the first, J.T. Miller took a tripping penalty in the natural zone. Moments before, Brock Boeser let go of a shot after a cross-ice pass from Quinn Hughes.
The Canucks’ penalty kill did a great job of not letting the Rangers get set up. They were quick to close out time and space, and Justin Bailey continued to make a good case for him to remain with the big club once Tyler Motte and Justin Dowling return.
Tucker Poolman made a costly turnover that very easily could have burnt the Canucks, but Hughes made a mad dash to chase down the puck carrier who was moving in on a breakaway and broke up the play.
It was the kind of play that elite defencemen make. It was also the kind of play that Hughes rarely made last season.
The Rangers took a penalty with shortly over four minutes remaining in the opening frame.
The Canucks’ first unit hopped over the boards and was an utter disaster in getting set up. They failed to generate anything of substance and the second unit hopped over with just over a minute remaining on the man advantage.
And rightfully so.
The Rangers managed to kill off the final minute of the power play, but gave the Canucks another chance with 37 seconds remaining after Alexis Lafreniere slashed the stick out of Justin Bailey’s hands to put the Canucks back on the man advantage to close out the first.
The Canucks’ first unit once again couldn’t get set up, and even gave the Rangers a scoring chance before the period expired.
To borrow a bit from our friends over at The Armies:
Best PP Recap
This one remained scoreless after 20.
To start the second period, the Canucks had Oliver Ekman-Larsson replace Quinn Hughes on the first power play unit.
Horvat found himself with a partial breakaway but was hounded by two Rangers penalty killers. Upon seeing the replay that showed the nature of which he was impeded, Horvat was livid at the referees and made sure they knew how he felt from the bench.
Tyler Myers took an interference penalty almost right as the penalty expired, and the Rangers’ power play — unlike the Canucks’ power play — was able to capitalize.
The Rangers scored on the rush after Artemi Panarin set up Mika Zibanejad for a tap-in goal in front.
THe Canucks were given another opportunity on the power play after Dryden Hunt took a penalty for holding the stick at 4:40.
Once again, the Canucks’ first unit hopped over the boards, with OEL quarterbacking the first unit once again.
OEL managed to set up Elias Pettersson for a pretty solid one-timed chance, but Alex Chiasson inadvertently blocked it and was labouring as a result.
OEL also had a bad read right after, which led to the Rangers getting a prime scoring chance as a result.
If it weren’t for Demko, this is in the back of the net, the Rangers have a 2-0 lead, and the Canucks have any momentum they had going for them — it certainly wasn’t much — drained out of them completely.
Just as the penalty expired, the Rangers took another penalty when Adam Fox tripped Tyler Myers to put the Canucks right back on the man advantage.
They at least managed to get set up and force the Rangers penalty killers to work, but once again, couldn’t convert.
The Canucks’ nearly scored right after returning to even strength after Tanner Pearson set up Jason Dickinson for a chance that likely goes in nine times out of ten if the goaltender in net isn’t Igor Shesterkin.
The Rangers took another penalty when Ryan Lindgren took a cross-checking penalty with 8:53 remaining in the second.
This time around, Hughes was back out on the first unit.
J.T. Miller had the best chance of the power play when he walked in and let go of a wrister that knocked the stick out of Shesterkin’s blocker hand.
Unfortunately, the puck soared out of play and the Canucks weren’t given an opportunity to capitalize on the stickless netminder.
Then the Canucks took a too many men on the ice penalty and the Rangers immediately capitalized to make it 2-0.
On the heels of a shift in which the Rangers controlled all possession, Miller and Pettersson found themselves on a 2-on-1 the other way.
Miller saucered the puck to Pettersson, who let go of a wrister that Shesterkin appeared to get a slight piece of to steer the puck just high enough to ring off the crossbar and stay out of the net.
The Canucks looked lifeless after two periods.
Down by two, the Canucks needed to come out firing if they were going to come back in this one.
And fire they did.
The Lotto Line — which now featured Conor Garland in place of Brock Boeser — controlled the zone exceptionally well. After cycling the puck around, Garland threaded the needle to find J.T. Miller for a tap-in goal. Miller’s second of the season, with assists from Garland and Pettersson at 1:29 of the third to make it 2-1 Canucks.
But they weren’t done there. In the midst of a line change, Vasily Podkolzin found himself on the ice with some pretty skilled players.
As Garland controlled the puck below the goal line, Podkolzin called for a pass as he streaked toward the goal.
“Really good job by him yelling and letting me know he was there,” said Garland post game. “He just yelled ‘hey!’ and I shoulder checked before the puck came to me and I kind of knew where he was coming.”
The man they call Pods made no mistake, burying the first goal he’s ever scored in front of the home crowd at Rogers Arena to tie this one at 2-2.
The Canucks had all the momentum in the world after this goal. The arena was loud with cheers, and for a team that was getting booed toward the end of the second period, that’s huge.
Adam Fox took a penalty for holding the stick at 10:28 of the third and the Canucks got back to work on the man advantage.
In this instance, the Canucks’ PP personnel looked a LOT better.
The only problem was Shesterkin looked even better.
The second unit looked strong as well, with Conor Garland letting go of a wicked one-timer that was stopped by the left pad of Shesterkin.
This one was going to go right down to the wire, with the Canucks turning in their best period of hockey all season and the Rangers trying desperately not to give up three unanswered goals.
Nils Höglander took a holding penalty that the fans at Rogers Arena and Höglander himself strongly disagreed with just over five minutes remaining in the third.
With 36 seconds remaining on the original power play, Oliver Ekman-Larsson took a hooking penalty, that really didn’t look like a hook.
Alright, BUCKLE UP. Because this penalty kill was downright insane.
It all started when Tyler Myers failed to clear the puck out of the zone. Then, in an attempt to sprawl across the crease to make a desperation save, Thatcher Demko lost his blocker.
Frantically waving his bare hand at the official, Demko kept his eye on the play as the Rangers cycled the puck.
Tucker Poolman lays his body on the line to block a shot. The rebound goes to a Rangers player, who lets go of a shot that is stopped by a Demko scorpion kick.
Back on his feet and frantically trying to recover, Demko sets up to make a save without a blocker. The Rangers recognize that Demko doesn’t have his blocker, and immediately move the puck to Artemi Panarin, who’s lined up to Demko’s right.
Panarin gets off a quality shot, but Demko is up to the challenge. The whistle blows, and it is absolute bedlam at Rogers Arena. Here’s the full sequence:
“That was maybe the loudest I’ve heard Rogers [Arena],” said Demko. “The other one that I can remember is when J.T. scored in overtime a couple years ago against Buffalo with a corner one-timer on the power play. The building kind of exploded there but this one definitely rivals it for sure.”
“I don’t know if I’d call it surreal,” said head coach Travis Green. “You just kind of take in moments like that when you feel that energy.”
Here’s another look at the scorpion kick that nearly made Rogers Arena cause seismic activity.
As they so often do, the teams went back and forth in overtime.
We’ll spare you the details, because J.T. Miller scored an absolutely electric goal to nearly blow the roof off the place tonight to put a bow on this one.
3-2 Canucks was the final score in this one.
Coming into tonight, the Canucks hadn’t scored a 5 on 5 goal with Brock Boeser on the ice. That’s just not good enough, and you can only get by on the belief that “these guys will score eventually” for so long.
It can’t be understated how badly the Canucks needed this win, and how badly they needed a win that came in this fashion, with their top players playing exactly how they’re expected to.
The Canucks will be back in action on Friday and look to build off this big win when they face the Nashville Predators. Puck drop is at 7 PM from Rogers Arena.
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