clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Demko saves the season & 6 other Canucks thoughts

All hail Demko.

New York Rangers v Vancouver Canucks
Goalie Thatcher Demko #35 and Tucker Poolman #5 of the Vancouver Canucks attempt to deny a New York Rangers shot during the third period on November 2, 2021 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

One day, Thatcher Demko is going to win a Vezina.

Okay, maybe I’m just getting some good voodoo out in the atmosphere after an insane come-from-behind win for the Vancouver Canucks. That being said, after Demko’s clinic last night, he’s in the early conversation for best goalie in the league.

Can’t you picture it now...when they call Demko’s name among Vezina nominees in 2022, they’ll be showing this clip in its entirety.

Maybe it’s too early to say that Demko is saving Travis Green’s job...but he’s already stolen at least two games outright for the Canucks this season in wins over Seattle and New York.

Maybe Green’s job isn’t looking as secure if the Canucks are 2-7-1 instead of 4-5-1. Westy with more on that...

In the meantime, here are six other thoughts on the Canucks after a dramatic come-from-behind win over New York.

NHL: NOV 02 Rangers at Canucks
Vancouver Canucks right wing Conor Garland (8) is checked by New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on November 2, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Garland needs a bigger role

One thing you can give Travis Green credit for...he usually gives players a bigger opportunity once they’ve earned it.

Sure, like almost all NHL coaches, perhaps he hangs on too long to a player who doesn’t deserve his role. This season, that would be his insistence on having Chiasson on PP1.

As Jimmi put it in his recap, just put Chiasson on PP3.

Garland is sixth among Canucks forwards in ice time. That’s too low for a player who’s been the best skater on the team.

The feisty winger did get a sniff on the top line in the third period, and he didn’t disappoint with a beautiful set-up for JT Miller’s goal.

Based on his play, an extended look on the first line and some time on the first power play unit seems well deserved.

New York Rangers v Vancouver Canucks
Nils Hoglander #21 of the Vancouver Canucks checks his game sticks before their NHL game against the New York Rangers at Rogers Arena November 2, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Höglander due for a breakout

Another guy who was buzzing against the Rangers was young Nils.

Despite a late-third period penalty, Höglander was one of the Canucks who was constantly in the offensive zone throughout most of the contest. He was also the team leader with a shot attempt differential above 80% on the night.

Some might say nerves took over with that late third period penalty, as Höglander was playing an NHL game in front of his parents for the first time. That’s a bit of a lazy narrative based on the 20-year-old’s overall performance on Tuesday night. He was second only to Miller with four shots, and led all Canucks with four even-strength scoring chances.

New York Rangers v Vancouver Canucks
Alexis Lafrenière #13 of the New York Rangers looks on dejected as Vasily Podkolzin #92 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates after scoring during their NHL game at Rogers Arena November 2, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

One weird thing about Hogz and Podz

The rrunner-upto Höglander in terms of even-strength scoring chances in this game was Vasily Podkolzin.

Of course, it was also Podkolzin who found the back of the net to tie this game, scoring his second goal of the season.

It was another beautiful shot as well...no garbage goals so far for the youngster.

The weird thing about it? Podkolzin scored a goal in front of Canucks fans before Höglander.

Podkolzin made the most of his team-low seven minutes. Slowly but surely, the young Russian is showing that he belongs in the top-nine, despite Green’s hesitation to give him more ice time.

At least Podkolzin looked more effective tonight than the entirety of the Canucks fourth line of Justin Bailey, Juho Lammikko and Alex Chiasson, who all got caved at even-strength.

NHL: NOV 02 Rangers at Canucks
New York Rangers left wing Dryden Hunt (29) is checked by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic (27) during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on November 2, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hamonic and Schenn...never again

Speaking of being caved in at even-strength, the Travis Hamonic, Luke Schenn pairing is something that I never want to see again.

For a coach who loves putting keeping his lefties on the left and righties on the right, it was a weird decision to put these two stay-at-home, right-shot defencemen on the same pairing.

The results weren’t great. Both players looked slow and tentative in this game. And, on a night where the Canucks controlled 60% of the even-strength shot attempts, Schenn and Hamonic were both below 26%.

Garland was easily the Canucks best forward tonight, but with Hamonic, he was on the ice for two shot attempts for and seven against. In six and a half minutes without Hamonic, Garland was on the ice for 11 attempts for and only two against.

NHL: OCT 30 Oilers at Canucks
Vancouver Canucks Right Wing Brock Boeser (6) on ice against the Edmonton Oilers during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on October 30, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Benching Brock

While it was Garland who got the short end of the stick earlier in this homestand, tonight, it was Brock Boeser who found himself seeing his ice time decrease.

His performance tonight on the power play was forgettable. At even-strength, he receive the fourth-lowest number of shifts among Canucks forwards, and his most common linemate at even-strength was Jason Dickinson.

Coming into this game, Boeser led the team in scoring chances at evens. I do think he’s due for a breakout, but tonight wasn’t his best showing.

Meanwhile in Arizona...

Andrew Ladd, Jay Beagle and Loui Eriksson as a first line in 2021-22? Am I having a fever dream?

Weird flex, Arizona.

Who knows what Dylan Guenther will turn into, but if Garland and OEL keep performing like two of the best players on the team, then how much will that really matter?

In 29 combined games, the four former Canucks in Arizona (Eriksson, Beagle, Antoine Roussel and Travis Boyd) have accumulated one goal (Boyd) and one assist (Eriksson) this season.

Who could have seen this coming?