In the game before the start of their road trip on February 24, the Canucks gave the Calgary Flames a good old-fashioned “butt-kicking.”
Thatcher Demko pays homage to former Canucks goalie, Kirk McLean
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
Start spreading the news, the Canucks took over New York for one day on February 27. Vancouver opened their four-game road trip by defeating the New York Rangers by a score of five to two at Madison Square Garden. At the time of writing, the Canucks’ record is 26-23-6. The team is sixth in the Pacific Division with 58 points; and five points behind a Wild Card playoff spot.
After the game against the Rangers, Canucks coach, Bruce Boudreau, was impressed with the performance of Thatcher Demko—who stopped 31 of 33 shots. “I’ve run out of things to say because, I mean, he’s been incredible,” he said as reported by Sportsnet. “The Calgary game wasn’t a 7-1 game and this game wasn’t a 5-2 game. If it wasn’t for Demko early, it would have been a lot different. He comes to play every night.” Vancouver then played the New Jersey Devils the next day. Unfortunately, it would be another disappointing effort by the Canucks—losing by a score of seven to two. Vancouver concluded the road trip by playing the New York Islanders on March 3 and the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 5.
Canucks backup goalie, Jaroslav Halák, had a forgettable game and was pulled after 26 minutes—giving up six goals on 14 shots. Sportsnet writer, Iain MacIntyre, described how poorly Halák has played in his March 1 column: “…the 36-year-old backup has allowed 13 goals on 37 shots in parts of three games. His save percentage in February was .649—a darkly appropriate number since his chief achievement was triggering a $1.25-million bonus for hitting his 10th start Monday.”
Bruce Boudreau was perplexed in describing his team’s poor effort, which ended a modest three-game winning streak. “We talked about it in the morning meeting, the evening meaning, I mean, the preparation for the day,” Boudreau said as reported by Sportsnet. “I wish I had an answer to it. I don’t. I’ve racked my brain over why some games we can play so good in the first period, and then other games…if there’s going to be something bad, that’s going to happen in the first period. I read every important notice to these guys on what this game was all about tonight, and to not come out as well as we’re supposed to come out is shocking to me.”
Iain MacIntyre says although the Canucks have been playing better—it may not be enough to secure a playoff spot. “That probably won’t be enough,” he wrote in his column published on February 28. “But with five wins in six games—three of them against teams that are among the NHL’s best—the Canucks appear to have found another gear just in time for the finishing kick to the regular season.”
Canucks general manager, Patrik Allvin, provided his feedback on how the team has played since being hired in January 2022. Allvin is the first Swedish general manager in NHL history. He spoke with Sportsnet on February 26 where he said he is noticing too much inconsistency. “Being so inconsistent, winning one game, losing one game, that’s something where you want to find a better rhythm,” he said. “You want to be more consistent in what you’re doing, and I think everything starts in practice (and) how you prepare yourself. The players need to take ownership over that. They need to prepare themselves every day to get ready to play. It’s a privilege to play in the NHL and I think you shouldn’t take anything for granted. I think a lot of players on this team have something to prove every single day.”
In the game before the start of their road trip on February 24, the Canucks gave the Calgary Flames a good old-fashioned “butt-kicking.” Vancouver defeated Calgary by a score of seven to one, ending the Flames’ 10-game winning streak. Notably, the game was highlighted by Canucks goalie, Thatcher Demko, paying tribute to former Vancouver goalie, Kirk McLean. Demko replicated McLean’s mask, gloves and pads. It was also vintage jersey night, as the Canucks wore the black, skate-logo jerseys (same jerseys Vancouver wore when they went to the finals in 1994).
After the game, Demko discussed his homage to McLean. And it seemed appropriate as Demko played like “Captain Kirk” in 1994—stopping 29 out of 30 Calgary shots. “There’s a lot that goes into it for me,” he said as reported by Sportsnet. “I always try to be very cognizant of…who’s come before me and who’s [paved] the way for guys like me coming in into the organization. I saw that we were only wearing the jersey once this year, so I knew it was a good opportunity to kind of go all out with it.” Vancouver starts a long seven-game homestand at Rogers Arena (March 9 to 20). This is followed by a four-game road trip at the end of March with a home game on March 30 against the St. Louis Blues.
Canucks’ schedule this week (all games at Rogers Arena)
Wednesday, March 9 vs. Montreal Canadiens (7:30 pm)
Friday, March 11 vs. Washington Capitals (7 pm)
Sunday, March 13 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (7 pm)
Tuesday, March 15 vs. New Jersey Devils (7 pm)