After a strong finish to their homestand, the Vancouver Canucks kicked off their first of four games on the road with a visit to the nation’s capital to take on the Ottawa Senators.
The Canucks needed overtime to secure the win in this one. Once again, Thatcher Demko was there to lead his team to a 3-2 win.
Thatcher Demko got the call to the crease once again while viral interview star Joey Daccord went between the pipes for the Sens.
The Canucks went with the same lineup as Saturday night.
The bottom feeders of the North Division met on Monday night and both teams were starting to put some wins together.
It’s time for puck drop, let’s go!
Very early on, the Sens had a horrendous turnover where they set J.T. Miller up for a shot in the slot. Miller rang the point-blank shot off the post.
The Sens were firing a lot of long shots on Demko in the early stages. At one point, the shots were 8-1 in favour of the Sens.
Adam Gaudette had a couple of scoring chances with 13 minutes remaining in the period.
It felt like the Canucks had the better scoring chances while the Sens were content with throwing shots on Demko to try and generate some rebounds for scoring chances.
Just past the halfway point, Jayce Hawryluk scored his first goal of the season. Jordie Benn got the shot through and Hawryluk was there to clean up the garbage. Brandon Sutter got the secondary assist as he won the faceoff to set up the Benn point shot. 1-0 Canucks.
The goal-scorer took the first penalty of the game. Hawryluk took a high-sticking minor with 5:43 remaining in the period.
Tyler Myers made a great pass to Brady Tkachuk in the slot, who then ripped a wrist shot off the crossbar in what was the best scoring chance of the power play for the Sens.
Tanner Pearson received a gift with just over a minute remaining. He scored his first goal in a dozen games when a puck was sent right to his stick in front of the net. He ripped a wrist shot home and made it 2-0 Canucks.
Gaudette was penalized for high-sticking with 46 seconds remaining in the period, giving the Sens their second attempt with the man advantage.
Demko was busy in the first period, and had to scramble a couple of times when there was a loose puck around the crease. Miller and Myers each had a horrible giveaway that led to a scoring chance.
The Sens hit a few posts and had 18 shots on Demko in the first 20 minutes.
The shot count was 18-9 while the scoring chances were equal with each team having 14 in the period.
It was an exciting period of hockey and the Canucks came out of it with a two-goal lead.
The Sens generated one shot on their power play and it was an incredible save by Demko on Tkachuk.
The Sens finally solved Demko when Josh Norris swatted at a bouncing puck in the slot. Demko got a piece of it but it trickled past him and into the net to cut the Canucks’ lead in half. 2-1 Canucks after the Norris goal.
The Sens received their third power play of the game when Travis Hamonic took a hooking call as a Senator split the defence on a rush.
Bo Horvat took a slashing penalty with 6:48 remaining in the period and it was the fourth power play of the game for the Sens while the Canucks had not had one attempt with the man-advantage.
The Canucks killed off another penalty and that meant that the Sens were unsuccessful in their first four power play attempts.
Travis Green pulled out his line blender in the second period. A trio of Nils Höglander, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser was assembled. Gaudette got a run with Miller and Zack MacEwen as well. Jake Virtanen was shuffled in through those two lines.
The Canucks finally earned their first power play of the game with 1:13 remaining in the period.
The Sens outshot the Canucks 12-7 in the second period and were dominant in the scoring chance department. The Sens had 15 scoring chances compared to the Canucks’ four in that period.
Still, the Canucks held onto their one-goal lead as they headed into the third period.
There were some exciting shifts from the Höglander, Horvat, Boeser trio. The added playmaking ability of Höglander created more space for Horvat and Boeser to get to their hotspots on the ice.
This line gave Canucks fans a look at what a third line centred by Miller could look like as he was flanked by MacEwen and Gaudette. That trio was banging bodies on every shift and generated some scoring chances as well.
Demko continued to be excellent as the halfway point of the third period came and went. He is showing that he is currently one of the best goaltenders in the league and is a game-changer on most nights.
The Sens were going to be over 40 shots in this game and Demko was rarely found out of position. He is becoming a legit number one starter in front of our eyes.
The Sens pulled the goalie with just over two minutes remaining and immediately scored the equalizer. Colin White scored on the Senators’ 44th shot of the game. 2-2 with under two minutes left.
With that late goal, we were off to overtime.
The Canucks waited for the right moment to attack and their patience paid off. Hughes made an amazing pass to send in Miller all alone and he made no mistake burying it on the forehand.
Canucks win 3-2.
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Hmmm… Vezina quality goaltending has been the secret all along!
He’s something special!
Facts only from Wagner.
Thatcher Demko: Night in and night out, he is the best Canuck on the ice and he did it again on Monday night. Demko faced 46 shots on net and 43 scoring chances against while only giving up two goals.
This Canucks team is a dangerous one when they get Vezina calibre goaltending. We learned that last season and are seeing it now with Demko and the run that he is on. He should be a no-brainer to be in the crease on Wednesday night, but then we see back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
Monday marked the ninth start in 10 games for him and he has looked dialled in for a while now. It might be time to ride him hard and make that push into playoff contention. The two games against Montreal on Friday and Saturday will give them a chance to fight for a playoff spot if they can wheel off two wins on the weekend.
For now, the Canucks will have to take care of business on Wednesday. They will be back in action against the Sens for the second of their two-game series. The game is another 4 pm start, we will see you there!