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Instant Reaction: Thatcher Demko ends the longest shutout drought in Canucks history with 3-0 win over Chicago

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
10 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comment section below! The Stanchies by Wyatt Arndt will be posted later tonight and The Statsies — CanucksArmy’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu — will be posted tomorrow morning.
Game 78 in a lost season between the Canucks and the Blackhawks started out in the way you’d expect Game 78 in a lost season to go. The first 40 minutes were a quick but uneventful slog between two teams going through the motions.
Then in the third period, Andreas Athanasiou poked a bear named Quinn Hughes, and all hell broke loose.
It was a game of firsts for the Canucks. Akito Hirose earned his first NHL point with an assist on Andrei Kuzmenko’s opening goal in the first, then in the middle frame got his second on Vitaly Kravtsov’s first goal as a Canuck. Hirose played 20 a staggering 20 and a half minutes tonight, showing just how much trust Rick Tocchet already has in the 23-year-old defender.
Meanwhile, another young blueliner made his own NHL debut. Cole McWard played 14 and a half minutes, and while he didn’t stand out in any major way, he was part of a surprisingly strong defensive performance for the team as a whole.
But the biggest story of the night was Thatcher Demko turning aside 33 Blackhawks shots to earn the Canucks’ first shutout in a franchise-record 133 games. Ironically, the last shutout came in the team’s first game under Bruce Boudreau last season.
The Blackhawks certainly tried in this game, albeit with a roster that’s largely fighting to increase GM Kyle Davidson’s draft lottery odds. Hawks goalie Alex Stalock had a relatively strong game in his right, including this gorgeous windmill stop on Anthony Beauvillier.
The Canucks didn’t dominate at any stretch in this game – if anything, the Hawks controlled the pace of play for the majority of the night – but their clearly superior offensive ability won the day. Well, that and a great performance from their elite goaltender.
The Canucks will rest up before closing out their 2022-23 home schedule on Saturday against the Calgary Flames.
What did you think of tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments below!

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