The Vancouver Canucks welcomed the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs to town Saturday night, with Toronto coming into Rogers Arena having won six of their last seven, while scoring 30 goals in their last six games.
The Maple Leafs’ high-powered offense dominated the game, recording 53 shots with countless scoring chances, but Thatcher Demko stole the show. Demko had a phenomenal career-high 51 saves against the relentless Toronto attack to lead the Canucks to an improbable victory.
The 26-year-old netminder was named an NHL All-Star for the first time in his career this season, becoming the seventh goalie in franchise history to receive that honor. Since participating in the All-Star Game, the San Diego native has been brilliant, turning away 100 of the 104 shots he’s faced in his three games played.
The Canucks jumped on the Maple Leafs early in the first period, with J.T. Miller netting his 17th goal of the season only 1:29 into the game. Less than five minutes after Miller’s opening goal, Brock Boeser added another for his 14th tally of the season to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead. Miller and Boeser also recorded an assist on eachother’s goals.
The only two blemishes on Demko’s stat sheet came in the later half of the second period, when Auston Matthews and Ondrej Kase both found the back of the net on the power play.
Shortly after Kase tied the game, Juho Lammikko potted his 4th goal of the season to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. Vancouver ended the period being brutally outshot 24-7.
Needing another goal to tie the game, the Maple Leafs relentlessly fired shots at Demko, that were all turned aside. Making 17 third period saves, Thatcher preserved the 3-2 lead until the final horn, giving the Canucks a huge win.
Demko’s stellar game comes as no shock, as he has been the best player in a Canucks sweater this season. His 51 saves tied a franchise record with Richard Brodeur for most saves in a win and was one short of tying Dunc Wilson for most saves in a game in Canucks franchise history.
The Canucks will be back in action Thursday night as they head to San Jose to take on the Sharks.