The Vancouver Canucks visited San Jose Thursday night to take on the Sharks, looking to stay perfect under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. The Canucks came into Thursday night’s contest riding a 5-game win streak since the firing of Travis Green and Bruce Boudreau.
Thatcher Demko started in net for Vancouver, coming off a 28 save win last Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Demko has been spectacular this season with a 2.66 goals against average to go along with a .917 save percentage.
Early in the season when the Canucks were struggling, Demko was the man who kept the team afloat. Since the hiring of Boudreau, Vancouver has looked like a completely different team, playing with a new-found energy.
The Canucks started the game out by weathering an early Sharks surge with the help of Demko, who made 5 saves in the first two minute, and 10 saves in the first 10 minutes of the opening frame.
Once the Canucks found their feet and started to settle into the game, Brock Boeser opened the scoring for Vancouver with his 8th goal of the season. Boeser snapped a wrist shot that whistled past the glove of Adin Hill to break the ice for the Canucks.
Shortly after Boeser’s opening goal, Bo Horvat added to the lead with a power play goal for his 10th goal of the season. Conor Garland sent a beautiful cross-ice pass over to Horvat who rocketed a shot bardown past Hill to put the Canucks up 2-0.
On their 13th shot of the game, the Sharks finally found a way past Demko as Timo Meier netted his 12th goal of the season to get San Jose on the board. Vasily Podkolzin blocked the original shot by Erik Karlsson, but unfortunately for the Canucks the puck deflected right to Meier giving him a wide-open net to shoot at.
Vancouver took the 2-1 lead into the first intermission, being outshot 13-10 in the opening 20 minutes of the game. Thatcher Demko had a big first period with 12 saves, including turning away several high-quality chances.
Just as he was to start the game, Thatcher Demko was tested early in the second period as the Sharks recorded the first 8 shots of the period, including a breakaway attempt by Jayden Halbgewachs.
The middle frame was largely dominated by the Sharks as the Canucks were held without a shot for the first 13:02 of the second period. Demko continuously made big save after big save to preserve Vancouver’s lead.
In a massive turn of events after a dominating period by the Sharks, Brock Boeser tallied his second goal of the game to extend the Canucks lead back to two. J.T. Miller sent a pass in front to a wide-open Boeser who zipped a shot bardown past Adin Hill.
The Canucks escaped, and even added to their lead, in a period where they were outshot 12-5.
The Canucks flipped the script to start the final period, controlling play and outshooting the Sharks 6-1 to start the third.
After Vancouver’s dominate start to the period, the Sharks got right back into the game when Andrew Cogliano netted his 3rd goal of the season to cut the Canucks lead in half.
After Cogliano brought the game back to within a goal, the Sharks pushed hard but Thatcher Demko fended off all of San Jose’s efforts to protect the lead.
J.T. Miller sealed the deal for the Canucks with 2:28 remaining in the game with his 10th goal of the year. Miller skated into the zone with some nifty stick-handling before sending a missile of a shot soaring past the glove of Adin Hill to put the Canucks up 4-2.
Shortly after Miller’s goal, Jason Dickinson added another via the empty-net to give the Canucks a 5-2 win.
Demko finished the game with 34 saves in a spectacular performance to push the Canucks win-streak to six.
The new-look Canucks are now 6-0-0 under Bruce Boudreau and have the entire NHL on notice. In a season that looked like it was rapidly going down, the coaching change has rejuvenated this team.
The Canucks return home for a 2-game homestand starting Saturday night when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.