Thatcher Demko wasn’t sharp
The Vancouver Canucks have a very reliable duo in net, but the little differences between All-Star #1 goaltender, Jacob Markstrom and rookie back up, Demko presented themselves in more ways than one on Saturday. Not to talk badly of the Canucks’ potentially future starter, but he didn’t appear particularly ready for battle.
Just like he has done in each of his last two games, the American back-stopper let in a soft goal early in the game, giving all the energy to the home crowd and placing the rest of his teammates in an uphill battle.
This one was bad and very familiar looking. A barrelling puck through traffic managed to squeak under the arm of Demko and bulge twine. Red lights flashing, crowd buzzing, Demko with his head down, everyone watching knowing it was a routine save.
More from The Canuck Way
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
Later on, Auston Matthews was presented with his 45th goal of the season, and probably one of his easiest tallies of the game. An embarrassing half wrist shot lazily thrown on net intending to be more of a rebound to create a scoring chance rather than an actual shot. Surprisingly though, it beat an off guard Demko and again sucked the life from the visiting bench.
Heading into the third period, the Canucks had managed to find themselves tied, anyone’s game at this point. Again, without fail, Demko looks unprepared to start the period. The Leafs broke in early and got two chances on Demko and buried it to win the crowd over just 18 seconds into the final period.
Simply, Demko let in three pucks that Markstrom would have stopped. The impact of his loss is beginning to show and Demko needs to find a way to dig deep and play smarter hockey. He’s had two bad games, but it’s too early to panic. He’s shown he can be calm and find wins. Can he do it when it matters most?