You probably wouldn’t predicted two wins, but Canucks fans can thank legend-in-the-making Thatcher Demko for that.
Without further ado, here are 7 thoughts on the Canucks as they force Game 7.
Thatcher Demko is a Legend
How in the...what?
Canucks fans, you just witnessed history in the making.
Thatcher Demko just became the first Canucks goaltender to record a shutout in the playoffs as a rookie. That only scratches the surface of what he accomplished tonight.
Here are some other things he can tell his future grandkids.
- Demko has the Canuck record for most saves in a playoff shutout with 48.
- His 48-save in a playoff shutout is the most by an NHL goaltender in regulation. Four other goalies have recorded 50+ save shutouts during overtime wins.
- He becomes the first goaltender since Jacques Plante in 1953 to record his first two playoff wins in elimination games.
Demko told the media after the game that he “feels great” after registering 90 saves on 91 shots in two wins against the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Were happy that were moving onto Game 7 and that what our focus is on,” Demko said to reporters after the game. “We had a lot of guys play hard tonight and get the job done.
“We’ve worked our way back to tie this series. We didn’t want to be down 3-1, but we wanted to step up, and obviously we’re happy with the win.”
How happy is Jacob Markstrom for Demko?
Throughout the contest, there were shots of Jacob Markstrom (and his maddening upside-down mask) cheering on Demko in the third period.
I wonder though, how happy is Markstrom for the rookie netminder?
Look, Markstrom is surely a good teammate, and he’s been the Canucks MVP of both the playoffs and the regular season.
However, the Canucks can’t ignore the fact that their goalie of the future is playing like a legitimate number one goalie...during an year where Markstrom is due for a monster extension, no less.
Markstrom will undoubtedly get paid wherever he goes. However, he can’t be blind to the fact that another talented player (or two) will be exiled from the team if he re-signs with Vancouver.
Most of us have said that the Canucks would be nowhere without Markstrom. After seeing what Demko has done, how do you really feel about that?
Did Quinn Hughes just play his best game as a Canuck?
Thomas Drance extracted the words out of my head....aside from the Avengers reference.
If not for Thatcher Demko playing like an Avenger, this would be the Quinn Hughes game.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) September 4, 2020
Following the win, I wondered if Hughes’s best game in a Canucks jersey was being overshadowed by Demko’s brilliance.
Tonight wasn’t even one of those Quinn Hughes nights where he created a barrage of offence. What impressed me most about Hughes tonight, was the number of smart plays he made in his own end over the first two periods.
Of course, the offence he provided was a dagger for Vegas, as he set up J.T. Miller’s 2-0 goal before sealing the win with a 3-0 goal of his own later in the final frame.
“As a kid, no one talks about Game 1 or Game 2, they think about Game 7,” said Hughes following the win.
Well, Hughes is already has the best single-postseason performance by any Canucks defenceman after tonight.
Everybody's talking about Quinn Hughes setting the all-time rookie scoring record by a defenceman in a single playoff year.— Kevin Wong (@CambieKev) September 4, 2020
With his 16th point of the 2020 playoffs, Hughes has also set a new #Canucks franchise record for most points scored by a defenceman in a single playoff. https://t.co/PA0hMKmN7g
We all can’t wait to see what he does for an encore.
Virtanen finally did it
Sometimes, it’s nice to be right.
Who's the #Canucks X-factor tonight?— Nucks Misconduct (@nucksmisconduct) September 3, 2020
According to @TrevBeggs, it's Jake Virtanen
Why? You'll have to listen to the world's fastest hockey podcast to find out https://t.co/iVchi0dkSg pic.twitter.com/Coa5hPDXC9
Look, Jake was due for a goal. He has been one of the most responsible Canucks at even-strength despite getting a barrage of defensive zone minutes.
I didn’t expect to see Virtanen turn into a defensive specialist in these playoffs. While that’s been a pleasant surprise, remember that this guy knows how to score goals, and he proved that tonight.
Are the Knights Unlucky or Rattled?
If you’re the Golden Knights, you’re probably happy about registering 91 shots in your last two games.
However, are you worried about not being able to beat Demko?
Here’s one area where the Knights deserve credit tonight. For most of this series, they’ve been a dominant second period team, but they often fail to find that same gear in the third period. Tonight, they saved their best for the final frame, registering 22 shots in the final 20 mintes.
Following the game, Max Pacioretty seemed eager to move on.
“You don’t wanna be sitting around the bubble thinking about this game, so it’s good for us that we’re playing tomorrow.”
You would think the fucked up scheduling from the NHL gives Vegas an advantage in Game 7. They have more depth and they’re facing a gassed goalie.
However, this is 2020, and they are barely a year removed from blowing a 3-1 series lead against San Jose in the 2019 playoffs.
Who’s gonna start in goal for Vegas?
We’ll rely on the research done by our SB Nation NHL counterparts at Knights On Ice for goalie thoughts for Game 7.
Who would YOU start in Game 7?— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) September 4, 2020
Last I checked, 85% of the Knights faithful were calling for Fleury.
What a turn of events it would be for the Knights to turn back to Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 7 after everything that’s transpired over the past two weeks.
If it is Fleury, you know he’ll be the more rested goaltender. Will that matter against the guy who looks unstoppable for the Canucks?
Demko will be a God if he can win Game 7
The California native will ascend from a legend to a God if he can somehow propel the Canucks to victory in Game 7.
That being said, it’s completely fair to wonder if mental and physical fatigue will catch up to Demkol
The rookie told reporters he was feeling fine after the shutout. What else did you think he’d say after writing his name in the NHL history books?
That being said, he was visibly gassed on a number of occasions in this game. He was shaking out sore legs, and even made the linesman come to him to get the puck after a lengthy sequence in the Canucks end.
Demko just posted the most saves in a regulation shutout by a goaltender in the playoffs...ever. His reward? A chance to
help carry the Canucks to a legendary Game 7 victory, which would cap off a monumental upset.
Also, would you play Markstrom if he’s healthy? That’s another subplot to watch as the Canucks are hours away from playing their biggest game in nine years.
This Demko performance got Canucks fans like pic.twitter.com/4CgM9ejyVA— Chris Sang (@19Naslund) September 4, 2020
For so many reasons, I can’t fucking wait to see what transpires tomorrow night.
More importantly, for the first time in nearly a decade, it’s great to be a Canucks fan.