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The Canucks shouldn’t change much about their lineup for their Sunday night affair with the San Jose Sharks. Surely, the lineup that kept their foot on the gas and beat the Vegas Golden Knights in commanding fashion less than 24 hours ago can take care of business against the Pacific bottomfeeder Sharks, right?
But there is one change they should make, and that’s starting Thatcher Demko in goal tonight.
The Canucks didn’t hold a morning skate today, so we don’t have any indication of if the lineup will change or know for certain if Demko is who the Canucks will turn to tonight.
During yesterday’s pregame media availability, head coach Bruce Boudreau talked about the thought process of turning to Spencer Martin last night. His explanation would suggest that Demko gets the start tonight.
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“You look at it, and I think Demmer was 3-0 against San Jose last year,” said Boudreau. “Marty deserves to play this game… You’re trying a million different thoughts ‘what’s the best idea?’ but they’re each playing a game so you just choose one, right?”
But that was before Martin turned in the effort he did, stabilizing the game early when his team didn’t yet have their legs under them. Martin set up the Canucks to go out and get the victory, and that’s exactly what they did.
The Hockey Night in Canada crew last night threw out the idea of the Canucks going to Martin in back-to-back games, and you certainly wonder if the Canucks’ coaching staff has done the same thing.
Starting Thatcher Demko tonight seems like the right thing to do.
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Martin has been a great story and has given the Canucks results, whereas Demko simply hasn’t to this point of the season.
Therein lies the problem. We’re likely not far from the point where the team considers moving away from Demko as their starter, choosing to ride the hot hand of Martin for as long as they can.
But we’re not there yet, and Demko deserves opportunities to get his game back. Today is a prime example of that.
Playing against a relatively weak San Jose team, today represents a great opportunity for Demko to build off of some of the good things he’s done already this year. Martin is ready and waiting in the wings if Demko falters, and even if Demko plays well, the idea of Martin and Demko alternating starts doesn’t sound all that crazy at this point in time.
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Few would have thought we’d be having this conversation just days away from the month of December, but here we are.
Martin’s 6-1-1 record and .907 save percentage don’t lie. He’s been the better goalie to this point, but Demko deserves the shot to match his netminding partner with a big performance today.