Instant Reaction: Thatcher Demko’s shutout propels Canucks to 2nd in West with win over Stars

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
5 months ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we bring you our instant reaction from every Vancouver Canucks game and encourage our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is writing The Stanchies tonight and those will be posted later this evening. The Statsies — CanucksArmy’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu will be posted tomorrow morning.
It was already a good day, because the Edmonton Oilers’ downfall doesn’t look like it’s coming to an end anytime soon.
But for the Canucks to turn in the effort they did tonight against the 7-1-1 Dallas Stars? Arguably the best day in any Canucks fan’s life since the Detroit Red Wings selected Filip Zadina instead of Quinn Hughes.
Tonight, the Canucks brought their A-game against the toughest opponent they’ve faced this season. They won the game in the second period, and kept their foot on the gas in the third to keep the Stars at bay.
I don’t know about you, but I watched that third period and didn’t really think for a second that the Canucks would blow this lead. That’s a weird feeling to have when watching Canucks games, considering what we’ve seen from them for the past, what’s it been, ten years now?
This team is different. National media is dubbing them Canada’s best team, and right now, that’s absolutely true. How long they can keep it up remains to be seen. Some regression is bound to happen at some time, but it’s becoming increasingly more believable that regression won’t mean this team falls off a cliff.
The Canucks’ 5v5 play continues to be strong. Their power play looked great again despite not getting on the board tonight. Their penalty kill still looks excellent. Their goaltending has been top-notch. Let’s focus on that tonight: the goaltending.
For tonight’s instant reaction, I seriously thought about dedicating the entire thing to Thatcher Demko’s early first period save. After Phil Di Giuseppe took the first penalty of the game, the Stars’ power play got to work and looked primed to open the scoring. That was, until Thatcher Demko gave us the best save of the young NHL season.
What’s most impressive about this save is that Demko was even in a position to make it. The fact he didn’t fully commit to his right — the Dallas player looked primed to shoot it — is what allows Demko to make one final hard push off his right and make the desperation glove save that will be leading every highlight reel in the country tonight (after Auston Matthews’ hat trick, of course.)
The Canucks played well in front of him, but Demko’s performance tonight — especially with that absolute momentum killer early on — was a huge reason why the team won this game to improve to 8-2-1.
Some other notes:
-A great bounceback game from Dakota Joshua. After he was a healthy scratch in San Jose, Joshua answered in a big way, tallying six hits through 40 minutes of play and finishing the night with seven.
-Much to the delight of Allan Walsh and Canucks fans,
-Elias Pettersson leads the league in points, and tied Patrik Sundstrom and Tony Tanti for the fewest games to hit 20 points in a season by a Canuck. This is the least surprising statistic I saw tonight. EP40 is on another planet right now, and we all know it.
-Pius Suter opened the scoring tonight with his second goal in as many games. The only real criticism of Suter as the Canucks’ third-line centre is that the offence hasn’t really been there. Tallying a 5v5 goal to get things started for the Canucks against the toughest team they’ve faced this season is massive.
-Look, I know he’s near the top of the league in goals and scored four goals in game one, but tonight was an exceptional performance for Brock Boeser, arguably his most complete of the season. Multiple board battle wins, four shots on goal, and more mini victories all over the ice.
Folks, it feels safe to say it after tonight: The 2023-24 Vancouver Canucks are a good team. Tonight was a big test for this team, and they passed with flying colours. Truly, this was the Canucks’ most impressive win of the season, and there’s not much more to it than that.
It’s November, and the Canucks have the second-best record in the Western Conference.
Just like we all thought they would.

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