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Vancouver Canucks’ 3 stars of the week: Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko, and Filip Hronek lead the way in return from All-Star break

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Photo credit:© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
2 months ago
We’re back, everyone.
After a two-week hiatus, we are back with the Vancouver Canucks’ 3 stars of the week.
During the All-Star break, most players and coaching staff are off enjoying a well-deserved 10-day break. However, if you’re part of the Vancouver Canucks, chances are you were called to participate in the All-Star game, cutting right into your extended beach vacation.
This year, six players and their head coach were involved in the festivities, meaning their entire first unit power play was unable to grab some much-needed R&R.
Did you notice that we mentioned six players?
That’s because while the rest of the team was resting during the break, the Canucks’ management was busy working the phones, doing what they could to get ahead of the NHL trade market.
By now you probably know, but their big move was acquiring Elias Lindholm in exchange for five assets, including fan-favourite Andrei Kuzmenko. Lindholm made an immediate impact, scoring two goals in his debut game with the Canucks en route to the club’s first win in their first game post-All-Star break.
Continuing their eastern road trip, they would drop their next two games–one in overtime–marking the first time they lost two consecutive games since mid-November and only the third time all season.
Despite some bumps throughout the week, the Canucks managed to secure five points out of a possible eight for the week, keeping them atop the league standings with 76 points.
Poor efforts or not, this team continues to find ways to collect points along the way.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some standout players from the week:
Third star: Filip Hronek
In a week where only three Canuck players managed to maintain a positive plus/minus rating, Filip Hronek led the charge, finishing with a plus-two across four games.
That’s not out of the ordinary, as it aligns with his season-long dominance in that department, currently leading the NHL with an impressive plus-35 rating.
Hronek tied Quinn Hughes for the team’s second-highest points total for the week, notching a goal and two assists — all against the team which drafted him (Detroit).
Not only did he score, but he scored in fashion.
In a play that any hockey player dreams of, he was sent on a breakaway, stepping onto the ice from the penalty box before undressing Alex Lyon for his fourth goal of the season.
Beyond his offensive contributions, Hronek registered eight hits and six blocked shots over the week and achieved a 60% (or better) Corsi rating in three out of four matches.
With 39 points on the year, he has officially tied his career-high and has plenty of runway left to add to those numbers.
Second star: Thatcher Demko
A 10-day break can disrupt any netminder’s rhythm, but that didn’t seem to faze Thatcher Demko this week.
I mean, perhaps it’s because he didn’t get a 10-day break.
Thanks, All-Star weekend.
Besides, the Boston game is being chalked up as a write-off, as it was just one of those games where everyone decided to take the night off.
Despite allowing four goals on 25 shots in Boston, the All-Star netminder had a strong week, stopping 53 of 57 shots in his other pair of games and was stellar in a 3-2 overtime victory to close out the week on Sunday.
Demko’s Vezina-worthy season continues to march forward, and he now shares the lead in wins (27) with Colorado’s Alexander Georgiev. Furthermore, both his save percentage (.918) and goals-against average (2.47) sit within the top 10, while his five shutouts rank second.
All this comes while facing the league’s fourth-most shots against (1,110).
To cap the week off, Demko brushed up against a Canuck legend, tying Dan Cloutier in franchise wins with 109–fourth all-time behind Richard Brodeur (126), Kirk McLean (211) and Roberto Luongo (252).
First star: Elias Pettersson
The Canucks scored nine goals over a four-game stretch this week and Elias Pettersson contributed on six of them. His standout performance came with a three-point second period in Detroit, where he helped rally his team after an uninspiring first period.
However, Pettersson’s week wasn’t flawless. He endured a rough outing against the Boston Bruins, resulting in a benching by coach Rick Tocchet during the second period, resulting in his lowest minute total all year (14:17). He finished the game with a disappointing minus-4 rating.
Of course, this sparked the recurring debate about whether his up-and-down efforts merit the significant contract boost that likely awaits him. Yet, as has often been the case, he responded emphatically in the very next game with his strong three-point performance in Detroit.
While he may not deliver perfection every night, it’s incredibly difficult to deny his incredible ability.
With 69 points in 53 games, he’s now on pace for 107 points, which would make him just the second Canuck to hit the century mark in their career — Pavel Bure being the other.
It’s not always a Picasso, but centremen like Elias Pettersson do not grow on trees, and especially given the uptick in the league’s cap ceiling, he’s worth every penny that’s coming his way.
Let’s just hope that it’s in Vancouver.
The Canucks have one more game on their road trip, as they head to Chicago to take on the Connor Bedard-less Blackhawks before heading home for a quick two-game home stand to close next week out.
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