Vancouver Canucks 3 stars of the week: Demko wins all three starts, Boeser snipes, Joshua puts up the points

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Hall
5 months ago
How does second in the league after 32 games sound?
Technically, based on points percentage, the Vancouver Canucks rank fifth in the league (.688).
However, with a 21-9-2 record, their 44 points place them just three behind their divisional rival Vegas Golden Knights for the top spot in the entire NHL.
At what point do we begin to consider the possibility that this Canucks team may just, in fact, be for real?
This week, despite concluding with back-to-back games against two struggling clubs, the Canucks faced another challenging four-in-six-game stretch.
Fortunately, stellar goaltending, solid secondary point production, and timely contributions from the team’s key players led to three victories and points in all four games.
Of course, the highlight of the week was the induction of legendary goaltender Roberto Luongo into the Ring of Honour.
It’s about time, too, given that he is first on the Canucks’ record books in wins (252), shutouts (38), and second in goals against average (2.36) and save percentage (.919).
True to form, Luongo delivered a perfect speech as he reflected on his eight-year tenure with the Vancouver Canucks.
With nearly a perfect week, the Canucks provided several options for star selections. However, these three players stood out as prime candidates and top performers, contributing to the team securing seven out of a possible eight points.

Third star: Dakota Joshua

Secondary scoring is a must for successful teams in the NHL these days, and Dakota Joshua is doing all the dirty work to stand out in recent memory.
While he’s typically touted for his peripheral contributions, Joshua sprinkled a scoring touch this week, notching three goals and four points over the four-game stretch.
Now, he was fantastic this week, but we’d be remiss to miss out on the opportunity to offer huge honourable mentions to his entire line, consisting of Conor Garland and Teddy Blueger, who each provided three points themselves.
This line proved to be the most consistent trio over the week, setting the tone each night.
For Joshua, the week’s performance included three goals on five shots, and he led the charge in hits with an impressive 12 over the four games. Sure, one of his goals may have been a gift, but every goal counts the same.
With 92 hits, he leads this entire Canucks group by quite a large margin, has become a crucial part of the improved penalty kill, and is now just four goals and 11 points shy of his previous career highs.

Second star: Brock Boeser

Move aside “Brocktober“; it’s now “Brockcember” as Brock Boeser continues to light up the scoresheet.
The 26-year-old had another prolific week, scoring five goals, bringing his season total to an impressive 23, which included a hat-trick performance against one of the league’s top goaltenders, Andrei Vasilevskiy.
After a short cool-down period, he finds himself back at the top, currently sharing the league lead in goals with Auston Matthews, and now has goals in 10 of his last 11 games.
In addition to his goal-scoring exploits, Boeser’s 37 points have him sitting in the top-10 leaguewide, occupying the ninth spot.
What’s most encouraging about Brock’s goal scoring this season, aside from the fact that he appears to be doing so on a nightly basis, is the variety in the types of goals he’s scoring.
Whether it’s from in tight, from a distance, one-timers, rush snapshots, and even empty-net goals, Boeser is finding the back of the net in every possible scenario.
This week showcases a prime example of that.
With a shooting percentage sitting at 25.6%, there’s obvious potential for some regression. Regardless, his resurgence, transitioning from trade talks to now being on pace for a 59-goal milestone, marks quite a remarkable comeback.

First star: Thatcher Demko

As mentioned at the top, the Canucks boast an impressive 21-9-2 record, and a significant factor in this success can be attributed to their outstanding goaltending tandem.
Whether it’s Thatcher Demko or Casey DeSmith getting the nod, there seems to be confidence in the air that this club will, or have a chance to, take home the two points.
Demko, in particular, is having himself a campaign worthy of substantial Vezina conversations.
Currently, the 28-year-old leads the league in wins (16), shares the lead in shutouts (3), and ranks second among goalies with 16 or more starts in both goals against (2.34) and save percentage (0.921).
This week, he stood true to his season form, going a perfect three for three, allowing just four goals in the process.
Facing off against two offensively potent Eastern Conference opponents, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, did not offer easy matchups, either.
However, he allowed just one goal between the two starts and paid homage to Roberto Luongo with a 36-save shutout against the Panthers on his Ring of Honour induction night.
You simply cannot write this sort of script…
“It’s poetic, right? Something was in the air…just a really cool evening”
In the second leg of a back-to-back and the fourth game in six nights for the team, Demko sealed the week with a 25-save performance in a 4-3 victory over the struggling Chicago Blackhawks, led by Connor Bedard.
He finds himself on a four-game winning streak, marking his second-best run of the season, after a six-game streak earlier in the year.
Remarkably, he has only suffered back-to-back losses once this season, providing a solid foundation for the Canucks on a nightly basis.
The Canucks return to a “regular schedule” this week, with three games in seven nights leading into the Christmas break.
There is a good chance that we see Thatcher Demko backstop all three, to cap off a tremendous first half.
Enjoy the slate, and see you next week!
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