Make that seven in a row for the Vancouver Canucks.
After a 12-day hockey hiatus, the team took to the ice at Honda Center on Wednesday night, hoping to pick up right where they left off against the Anaheim Ducks. It had been a December to remember so far for the Canucks, who had rattled off six consecutive wins under new head coach Bruce Boudreau before the league paused from December 22nd to 27th due to COVID-19.
After surrendering the opening goal in the first period, the team was able to fight back and ultimately come away with the all-important two points in the extra frame, thanks to a nifty breakaway tally from J.T. Miller.
With the victory, Vancouver now sits just four points back of the Edmonton Oilers, who currently hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, as well as fourth place in the Pacific Division, with only two games in hand over the Canucks.
Without further ado, here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s 2-1 OT comeback victory in Anaheim:
Gibson, Demko battle it out between the pipes
The Team USA management team must be grinning from ear to ear right now.
On Wednesday night, fans were treated to what likely would’ve been two-thirds of Team USA’s Olympic goaltending trio in Thatcher Demko and John Gibson, and neither netminder disappointed.
Gibson was the much busier of the two, stopping 35 of 37 shots faced. The 28-year-old has had stellar career numbers against Vancouver, going 12-2-1 while also posting a 1.73 GAA and .940 SV%, and that dominance very much carried over into Wednesday night’s tilt.
Gibson was easily Anaheim’s best player, stymying Vancouver on multiple occasions to keep his team ahead for the first 40 minutes. The Canucks were finally able to beat the Anaheim netminder in the final frame, thanks to Tanner Pearson’s fifth goal of the year, and his third goal in 11 games.
The play wouldn’t have developed had it not been for Quinn Hughes, who took advantage of a poor line change before sending a strong, heads-up cross-ice pass to Pearson.
Like we saw so many times before with Demko at the beginning of the season, Gibson deserved the victory after his hard-work and timely saves, but was ultimately burned by his own mistake in overtime.
Unlike what we’ve previously seen from the team this year, Demko wasn’t too busy in the crease, only facing 23 shots from his opponents. The 26-year-old did have to be sharp at times, particularly in the latter half of the final frame, but was fortunately rewarded for his efforts in the end.
With the victory, Demko has now gone 6-0-0 with one shutout, a 1.30 GAA and a .958 SV% under Boudreau, and will be looking to bring these impressive statistics into the new year.