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Markstrom Beats Demko in Battle of Ex-Canucks Crease-Mates

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Vancouver Canucks, Thatcher Demko
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko.

NHL Final: Calgary Flames and goalie Jacob Markstrom 1, Vancouver Canucks and Thatcher Demko 0

Thought this might be a tantalizing sub-topic for the Canucks vs. Flames Saturday night but it got off to a tortoise-like start.

Head to Head

The Vancouver Canucks didn’t muster much offence at five-on-five in the first period and on top of that they spent seven minutes of the opening stanza shorthanded.

Markstrom used his mask to make the only save he needed in the first period on a shorthanded backhander by Tyler Motte. Demko made seven saves but none were crazy efforts.

The intensity picked up at one end of the ice in the second period: Demko’s. He was challenged on a number of occasions and if there were any concerns he might be a bit rusty coming off the Covid-protocol break, forget-about-it.

He made a variety of sterling saves including stopping Johnny Gaudreau on a penalty shot at 14:22. Luke Schenn had hooked the crafty Flames forward at the last moment on a breakaway.

Shot attempts through two periods favoured Calgary 51 to 23 and shots on goal were 20-to-9.

A History

Obviously the former Vancouver Canucks crease-mates are well aware of each other’s presence. When Markstrom left Vancouver in 2020 in free agency to join the Flames, Demko took over. Just like he took over in round-two of those 2020 “bubble” playoffs in the seven game series against the Vegas Golden Knights when he pitched a shut-out in Game-6 and put up tremendous numbers in his four matches.

In the end, Markstrom finished his Canucks career with a record of 99-93-and-27. His save percentage with Vancouver was .913% and his goals-against-average 2.73.

He’s costing the Flames $6-million a season through 2025-’26, while Demko is signed for the same time period at a $5-million cap hit.

Demko is five years younger than Markstrom, so the ‘swap out’ of goalies earned the Canucks a generous portion of player “prime”.

So far the Californian is 51-45-and-6 with two shut-outs with the Vancouver Canucks, keeping in mind that part of that record unfolded over the 2021 season, a catastrophe across the board, mostly due to Covid.

In The End

Markstrom picked up the win and his NHL leading 7th shut-out when his teammate Johnny Gaudreau ripped a slapper past Demko at the :29-second mark of overtime on clear cut 3-on-2. Gaudreau had all day to tee it up from the slot and pick his spot.

Markstrom was gracious in victory.

“The puck wasn’t going in, we had some chances, their goalie Thatcher was playing pretty good during our power plays and during the game, so he kept Vancouver in the game I thought.”

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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