CanucksArmy post game: Canucks keep playoff hopes alive and well with huge win over Stars
Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
The Vancouver Canucks continued their road trip with a date with the Dallas Stars.
Given where these two teams were in the standings heading into tonight’s game, tonight was huge for both sides.
So with that, let’s see how the Canucks lined up in Dallas.
Thatcher Demko started in goal for the Canucks, with Jake Oettinger manning the pipes for the Stars.
Matt Highmore was out with an upper-body injury, and Will Lockwood slotted into the lineup as a result.
Let’s do this!
Despite having what head coach Bruce Boudreau described as a “lethargic” morning skate, the Canucks, somewhat miraculously, did not have a slow start right off the hop.
The Canucks generated three shots on Oettinger through the first five minutes of the game, but Dallas appeared to strike first when Thomas Harley put the puck past Demko.
Despite the Dallas goal horn blaring, the puck did not cross the line. Rather, it hit the crossbar, and this one remained scoreless.
Within two minutes of the goal that almost was, Dallas pulled ahead 4-3 on the shot chart.
Alexander Radulov ran over Demko as he tried to bury a loose puck in front, and the Vancouver goaltender’s mask and blocker came off as a result.
But still, this game remained scoreless.
As mentioned, the Canucks had the first three shots of the game, but Dallas had the next eight.
Demko had to be sharp as the Canucks were on their heels a bit and in need of some pushback.
The Canucks turned up the heat a bit on the Stars in
With just over three minutes remaining in the first, Jamie Benn got two shots off on Demko after blocking Luke Schenn’s shot at the Dallas blueline and going the other way.
Like every one of the 13 shots he faced in the opening frame, Demko was up to the challenge and the Canucks left the first 20 minutes scoreless.
Travis Dermott did extremely well to break up a 2-on-1 with Tyler Seguin moving in with the puck early in the second.
Elias Pettersson put the dangles on Jani Hakanpaa when he made a quick shift to the middle to get a solid shot off on Oettinger, but the Dallas goaltender stood tall.
J.T. Miller set up Conor Garland for a one-timer, but Garland’s shot rang off the post. The rebound bounced around in the feet of Tanner Pearson but Pearson couldn’t locate the puck before it slid wide.
Afterwards, Alex Chiasson played a Quinn Hughes breakout pass back into the Canucks’ zone, and the Stars took advantage, with Jacob Peterson opening the scoring after his backhand chance beat Demko. 1-0 Stars.
On the next shift, Vasily Podkolzin made a nifty move by trying to bank a backhand shot from behind his back off of Jake Oettinger, but the Stars’ goaltender scrambled to grab the puck before it could cross the goal line.
The Canucks had two or three minutes of sustained pressure in the Dallas end, which was capped off by Brad Hunt, who made a power move to the middle and almost tied this one up.
On the next shift, however, the Canucks gave up a breakaway opportunity after Luke Glendening beat Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a footrace for a loose puck.
Thankfully for the Canucks, Demko was up to the challenge and turned the chance aside, keeping his team down by just a goal.
Hakanpaa took a holding penalty after holding Conor Garland for an extended period of time, giving the Canucks the first power play of this game.
Elias Pettersson wasted little time before ripping home a one-timer five-hole on Oettinger. This one was tied at 1-1.
Luke Schenn took an interference penalty after taking Joe Pavelski down in front of the Canucks’ goal.
The Stars’ power play personnel hopped over the boards, and got their first chance of the game to go to work.
Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson broke in on a 2-on-1, with the captain electing to shoot. Horvat missed the net, and the Stars were able to break back with numbers the other way. Tyler Seguin got a shot off on Demko, but was unable to beat him.
The Canucks killed off the penalty, and for the first time, pulled ahead on the shot clock, which now read 22-21 in favour of the Canucks.
With the game tied at one apiece, the Canucks were right in this game heading into the third.
Brock Boeser opened the period with a sharp angle shot that was turned away by Oettinger.
On the same shift, Elias Pettersson championed the Canucks’ breakout effort and let go of a wrist shot on the rush that went bar down behind Oettinger. 2-1 Canucks.
Side note — that goal marked the 200th point of Pettersson’s career.
Juho Lammikko took a tripping penalty on the next play, and the Stars were given a golden opportunity to tie this one up again.
Pettersson and Horvat once again broke in shorthanded, and once again, the Stars went back the other way with numbers after Pettersson and Horvat failed to convert.
The Canucks killed off the remainder of the Lammikko penalty, and we were back to even strength.
After some strong work from Vasily Podkolzin down low, Alex Chiasson found himself in the slot with time and space, but hit the post with his shot attempt.
Alex Radulov took a holding penalty after putting the grab on Tyler Myers’ stick.
The Canucks were back on the man advantage with a chance to get closer to a regulation win.
Unsurprisingly, Pettersson generated a few quality looks for his team, but the Canucks couldn’t convert.
The Stars created a flurry of chances on Demko, and in the process, Brock Boeser took a hooking penalty.
Demko made another save of the year bid off of Esa Lindell, who then hit the post on his next chance. Then Demko made another strong blocker save. Here’s the full sequence:
But what you really need to see is that Demko save once again:
A horn sounded minutes after as the league asked the officials to review that the shot did in fact not cross the line.
The call was confirmed, and the Canucks remained up by a goal with five minutes remaining in the game.
The Stars were pressing late, and Demko held the Canucks in this game.
He made save after save, and with just a hair under two minutes remaining, the Stars pulled their goalie and sent out an extra attacker.
Bo Horvat took a shot at the net and converted to make it 3-1 Canucks.
Just for good measure, and with the goalie back in the net, J.T. Miller batted down a Luke Schenn point shot and buried home the rebound to make it 4-1 Canucks.
4-1 Canucks final.
To no fault of his own, it had been a while since Thatcher Demko stole a victory for his club, but there’s little debate — that’s exactly what took place tonight.
Demko hadn’t picked up a regulation win in his last four starts, and this was as close to a must-win game that his team has played in this year.
He was dynamite, and that’s why he’s our top performer tonight.
“When he’s like that, the confidence on the bench is great,” said Boudreau post game. “You just don’t think that anything’s going to get in on him and that’s what great goaltending gives everybody — the confidence that even if you make a mistake, he’s gonna be there to back you up.”
“I thought that was the best game he’s played in a while.”
No disrespect to Elias Pettersson, who is certainly worthy of the most honourable of mentions.
This was an uber-important game. With a win in regulation, the Canucks’ playoff chances rose to 17%. With a loss against Dallas, who they’re trailing in the standings, their odds would have dropped to 6%.
Being tied heading into the third, that was easily the most important third period the Canucks have played this season, and led by Pettersson and Demko, the Canucks quite clearly got the memo.
“I think I told Petey especially to shoot the puck,” said Boudreau post game. “I mean, he’s got such a great shot… and he doesn’t use it. He wants to be a playmaker most of the time, and when he shoots the puck they go in. The second one was a perfect example of how his shot is electric and the first one — when he keeps shooting, it finds ways to get in because he’s got such a good release.”
The Canucks picked up five of six possible points through the first three games of this road trip and have a chance to make it a near-perfect road trip Monday night against St. Louis.
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