Canucks Recap: Demko makes first All-Star appearance

The Vancouver Canucks officially have an All-Star on their roster, and his name is Thatcher Demko.

The 26-year-old netminder was selected to take part in the annual festivities held in Las Vegas, serving as the team’s lone representative for the weekend.

Demko kicked off his inaugural All-Star appearance on Friday night, showcasing his puck-stopping abilities in the “Dunkin’ NHL Save Streak” challenge.

Unlike previous years, the two netminders from each team were paired up with each other, collectively facing off against the best and most creative shooters from another division.

As a result, Demko was partnered up with fellow Pacific Division goaltender John Gibson, with the duo rounding out the last crop of breakaway shooters for the evening.

Demko started the challenge off on the right note, turning aside forward Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately, Demko’s personal save streak was short-lived, thanks to Chicago Blackhawk sniper Alex Debrincat, who snapped the puck blocker side past Demko to reset his overall score back to zero.

The former 2014 second round selection was able to stymie blueliner Cale Makar on his next turn, but once again let the save streak fall after Jordan Kyrou slipped the puck five-hole on a nifty, in-tight deke.

Demko and Gibson appeared to find their groove shortly after, with the duo turning aside three straight shooters, but it was Demko who eventually closed the book on the challenge, getting beat by a cheeky backhander from Arizona Coyote forward Clayton Keller.

Demko and Gibson finished the challenge with a personal save streak record of three, which placed them six back of Jack Campbell and Andrei Vasilevskiy, who eventually took home the championship for the Atlantic Division.

Demko hit the ice the following day, suiting up for the Pacific Division in their semi-final contest against the Metropolitan Division.

Demko was given the nod for the second period in relief of Gibson, who allowed three goals on 14 shots. Fortunately for his teammates, Demko knows a thing or two about carrying his club out from under when they’re behind on the scoresheet.

As expected, Demko was solid as a rock in the opening minutes, turning aside glorious chances from Zach Werenski, Jake Guentzel and Claude Giroux, while his teammates were able to climb out of the 3-1 deficit that they surrendered in the opening frame.

Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Division proved to be too strong, throwing nine more shots towards Demko and eventually netting three more goals in the final five minutes en route to their 6-4 victory.

Even though Demko didn’t take home the “Save Streak” title, or a cut of the $1 million grand prize, he still acted as a trailblazer for so many young netminders.

With his weekend appearance, Demko became the first ever California-born goaltender to participate in the All-Star festivities, an amazing accomplishment that can be added to his growing list of impressive accolades on the year.

Demko will return to the Canucks on Tuesday when they face off against the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.

What are your thoughts from Demko’s All-Star performances? Make sure to drop a comment below!