The Vancouver Canucks will head into the New Year riding a five-game win streak and two points behind the Pacific leading Vegas Golden Knights with two games in hand. While they haven’t always been the prettiest of victories, the Canucks can take pride in the fact that they have dug deep, remained composed, and found a way to climb in the standings.
Timely goaltending has been an enormous boon for the team and tonight was no different as Thatcher Demko was fantastic in his first game back from a concussion turning aside 23 of 25 shots faced. Secondary scoring was the catalyst in the offensive zone, especially the second-unit power-play who scored twice, albeit one was off a fortunate bounce. Production from periphery players is one of the hallmarks of a playoff-caliber team. Over the course of this five-game win streak, 14 of Vancouver’s 21 goals have come from players not named Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, JT Miller, or Bo Horvat. The Canucks will hope that they can continue to receive goals from their blue line and secondary forwards as they attempt to ascend the peak of the Pacific division. They play eleven games in January and eight of them are against teams not currently in a playoff position. It’s time for the Canucks to find another gear as the Trade Deadline approaches.



(At 5-on-5 via NaturalStatTrick)


Game Notes

  • Thatcher Demko looked calm and controlled in his crease tonight, a great sign for a goalie returning from injury. Rust was definitely evident on the first goal allowed caused by sloppy rebound control however other than that, I was quite pleased with how he was tracking the puck, especially on a couple of 2-on-1’s.
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss Jake Virtanen for a bit. Tonight Virtanen and his line were fantastic in driving possession and outshot-attempted the Flames by 64.71% while on the ice. Coming into this game, he was second only to Elias Pettersson for xGF% in the 12 games of December (51.14). Virtanen had a fantastic December. Let’s see if he can carry it into the New Year.
  • Bo Horvat and his line have had a tough time during this win-streak. Horvat entered tonight with the second-worst xGF% with 27.61 in his past 4 games. It was nice to see his line score a big 4-1 dagger and the empty-netter. Yes, he is facing tough competition but the Canucks need more from their captain as they chase the Golden Knights.