Boeser, Demko lead Canucks to 4-1 win over Los Angeles

Nov 18, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) and forward Brock Boeser (6) and forward Curtis Lazar (20) celebrate their victory against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) and forward Brock Boeser (6) and forward Curtis Lazar (20) celebrate their victory against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

Make that two in a row for the Vancouver Canucks.

After salvaging their dismal road trip with a 5-4 victory in Buffalo on Tuesday night, the team returned to Rogers Arena, hoping to continue the momentum against Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

As we’ve seen so often this season already, the Canucks kept us on our toes with the line-up leading up to puck drop, with General Manager Patrik Allvin announcing that forward Curtis Lazar would make his return to the team on Friday night.

Lazar, who had missed the last 10 games with a lower-body injury, slotted into the fourth line winger position alongside Dakota Joshua and Nils Åman.

Lazar replaced William Lockwood, who was sent back down to Abbotsford after registering an assist in that role on Tuesday night in Buffalo.

The team was also still without forwards Tanner Pearson, Jack Studnicka and Vasily Podkolzin. Pearson will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks following successful hand surgery, while Studnicka is currently on the IR list with a lower-body injury.

Podkolzin was considered a game-time decision on Friday but eventually remained on the sidelines for his third consecutive contest. The Russian sophomore was injured following a spirited tilt against A.J. Greer on Sunday night, and is currently rocking quite the shiner to prove it.

It was a rather uneventful start for both the Canucks and the Kings in the first period, with neither team registering too many high-danger scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes.

Fortunately for the home team, they were able to find their groove heading into the middle frame, in large part to the trio of Brock Boeser, Thatcher Demko and Elias Pettersson.

Let’s start with Boeser.

It’s been an up-and-down season for the 25-year-old winger, who has already dealt with his fair share of injury issues. Despite already missing six games this season, however, Boeser has still been one of the more consistent offensive producers for this team, notching nine assists in 12 games.

Of course, assists can only go so far for scoring wingers like Boeser, especially with his $6.65 million cap hit, but the Minnesota native finally broke through on Friday night to get the monkey off of his back.

Boeser managed to hit the scoresheet twice, notching his first powerplay goal of the season on a nifty tip-pass play from J.T. Miller, while also showcasing his sleek hand-eye coordination in the third period to ice the victory for his club.

Boeser has been lights out in his career against the Kings, scoring 10 goals in 12 contests against the Pacific Division rivals, including the two tallies on Friday night. He now sits just under a point-per-game pace this season, and there’s no doubt that his teammates would like to see him carry this scoring touch moving forward.

Of course, it’s much easier to secure a win when you’re scoring goals and stopping pucks, and Demko made sure to hold his end of the bargain on Friday.

It had been an underwhelming start to the season for Demko, who entered Friday’s contest with a disappointing .874 SV% and 4.02 GAA in 11 games played. The former 2014 second round selection was also in jeopardy of losing the starting position between the pipes, with back-up Spencer Martin knocking on the door over the past few games.

Fortunately, Demko appeared to have rediscovered his elite form on Friday night, stopping 36 of 37 shots, including 12 high danger scoring chances from the Kings, en route to his second victory of the season. This was also the first time this year that Demko allowed less than three goals in a contest, a statistic that he’ll need to keep up if his team has any chance of escaping the Pacific Division basement.

Speaking of carrying this team, let’s talk about Pettersson now.

The Swedish centre continued his dominating campaign, adding two more goals to his collection, including this wicked wrister to open the scoring on home ice.

Pettersson has easily been Vancouver’s best player, and his nine goals and 13 assists in 18 games are one of the many accolades to prove that. What’s even more impressive is that Pettersson is still searching for his first powerplay goal of the season, a statistic that should be terrifying not only to his opposing goalies, but to the writers and insiders that currently don’t have Pettersson on their early Hart Trophy ballots.

Andrei Kuzmenko and Quinn Hughes also picked up two assists apiece, with Hughes officially tying Sami Salo for ninth in assists (162) amongst all Canucks’ blueliners in franchise history with the apples.

To put that into perspective, Salo reached the milestone in 566 games. Meanwhile, it only took Hughes 219 games.

With the win, the Canucks are now sixth in the Pacific Division and only seventh last in the NHL, which is a massive improvement from where they were at the beginning of the week.

The Canucks will now look to secure their first three-game win streak of the year on Monday night when they host Jack Eichel and the Vegas Golden Knights. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.

What were your thoughts from Friday’s 4-1 win against LA? Let us know in the comments below!