Scenes from morning skate: Demko set to shoot down Stars while Joshua returns to Canucks’ lineup
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
28 days ago
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The Vancouver Canucks held a full morning skate at Rogers Arena on Saturday before their showdown with the Dallas Stars. Coming off the organization’s most-lopsided win in years, Rick Tocchet could quite easily have stuck with the same line-up he used in Thursday’s 10-1 throttling of the San Jose Sharks. But Tocchet is making one line-up change. Dakota Joshua returns to while Jack Studnicka will be a healthy scratch.
What we saw
This is how the team lined up at this morning’s skate.
Thatcher Demko gets the nod in goal. This will mark the first time all season Demko has started three straight games. It will also be his first Saturday night start of the season. In his last three outings, Demko is 3-0 with a 1.00, an incredible .963 save percentage and a shutout of the St. Louis Blues.
While the players are the ones that have done the bulk of the heavy lifting in the Canucks 7-2-1 start, the coaching staff deserves its share of credit, too. Saturday morning was another indication of how involved the coaches are with this hockey club. The team had eight members of the coaching and player development staff on the ice for the morning skate: Rick Tocchet, Adam Foote, Mike Yeo, Sergei Gonchar, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Yogi Svejkovsky and Ian Clark. And they’re not just out there pushing pucks around during drills. This staff is hands on taking players aside and working with them individually as drills are going on around them.
The game within the game tonight will be the Canucks red-hot power play against the Stars stifling penalty kill. The Canucks went four for five with the man-advantage in San Jose on Thursday and the power play is now 12 for 35 (34.3%) on the season. The Stars penalty kill has surrendered just two goals all season successfully defending 29 of 31 times short-handed (93.5%).
Captain Quinn Hughes has 1+7=8 in his last two outings while Filip Hronek carries the longest point streak on the team into action tonight. Hronek has seven assists on a five-game point streak. Elias Pettersson (3+6=9) and JT Miller (4+4=8) are on four game heaters.
The Stars are 7-1-1 on the season and are coming in having won three straight and six of seven. They beat Edmonton 4-3 on Thursday night after a 4-3 win in Calgary on Wednesday. While they won both games in Alberta they surrendered 47 and 49 shots on goal in those games.
Roope Hintz leads the Stars in both goals (5) and points (11). Joe Pavelski is the only other Dallas skater in double-digits in scoring with 4+6=10.
The Canucks swept the three-game season series from Dallas last season and have won five straight against the Stars. T
Tonight’s goaltending match-up looks to be a good one. Thatcher Demko is 6-0 lifetime against the Stars while Jake Oettinger, who had the night off Thursday in Edmonton, is 5-0-1 on the season. However, Oettinger is 0-2-1 with a 4.75 GAA and .829 save percentage in his career against the Canucks.
Rick Tocchet says that Teddy Blueger skated on Friday four weeks to the day since he suffered an ankle injury in the Canucks October 6th preseason finale against Calgary. Tocchet says the plan is for Blueger to skate again this weekend and that he will accompany the team on its upcoming three-game Eastern Canadian road trip. That means Blueger may make his regular-season debut out on the road.
What we heard
Rick Tocchet on Dakota Joshua returning to line-up: ‘There’s no message. He just knows these are the types of games we need Dakota to do his thing — wall battles, go to the net. He’s done a nice job penalty killing which is good. Has to keep doing that stuff. He knows he can be a big piece for us in these types of games.”
Dakota Joshua on sitting out while team thumped San Jose 10-1: “It wasn’t fun at all for me. Obviously very happy for the guys and fun to see what took place. But you want to be in every game and I didn’t like sitting out and I’m striving to not let that happen again.”
Pius Suter on having so many coaches involved in morning skate: “There is so much knowledge. I feel like almost every guy has a thousand games in this league. So they definitely know what they’re talking about and you can take a lot from each guy.”
Pius Suter on facing the Stars: “It’s definitely going to be a physical game so we have to be ready for that. They have some big strong guys , so we have to make sure we’re ready to battle. And on the face-off dot, they have the lefty-righty on each line and they’re going to have strong sides for every face-off.”
Brock Boeser on the feel of hammering the one-timer to open the scoring on the power play in San Jose: “It feels pretty good, I’m not going to lie. I haven’t really got many one-timers off, but any time you can get a one-timer and hit it pretty good and it goes in, it’s definitely a confidence booster.”
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