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Vancouver Canucks Win 5-2 – Outplay the New York Rangers

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Vancouver Canucks, Tanner Pearson
Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson 'walked right down Broadway' and ripped a shot past Rangers goalie Alexander Georgiev to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead.

Vancouver Canucks 5, New York Rangers 2

The Vancouver Canucks began their four-game eastern road trip with an impressive 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. They face the New Jersey Devils Monday night in the 2nd half of a back-to-back NHL set.

The Rangers vaunted power play went 0-for-3 while the Canucks went 1-for-1. That’s 9 for the last 29 for Vancouver. (31%)

The Name of the Game is Goalie

OK, so Thatcher Demko has been very good. He’s saved the Canucks bacon on many occasions including recently. His early saves in the 7-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night allowed the game to eventually be 7-1. Or as Vancouver Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has said more than once, “it wasn’t a 7-1 game”. Demko did it again early against the Rangers, stopping breakaways and point blank opportunities from the likes of Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.

But not sure we always need the “if it wasn’t for Thatcher” comments. Isn’t that what having a great goalie is all about? Isn’t that his job? As we often say, it’s the most important position on the ice. He’s the team MVP, no doubt, and it’s waaaaay better than having to bitch and moan about goaltending that’s inadequate.

He’s part of the team. A big part of it. Just like the forecheck and the penalty kill on Monday night. All nectar. Just sayin’.

“When you get that kind of goaltending, you don’t have to score a lot of goals to win,” Boudreau said postgame. The Canucks are scoring plenty of goals anyway, leading the NHL with 4.63 per game since the All-Star break.

It was Demko’s first career start at Madison Square Garden.

Goal Scorers

1st Period 1-0 Vancouver – Tanner Pearson (10) – JT Miller (3:12) Even Strength

1st Period 2-0 Vancouver – Tyler Myers (1) – JT Miller, Matthew Highmore (19:21) Even Strength

2nd Period 3-0 Vancouver – Juho Lammikko (6) – Luke Schenn (6:06) Even Strength

2nd Period 4-0 Vancouver – Matthew Highmores (3) – Oilver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers (15:16) Power Play

3rd Period 4-1 New York – Alexis Lafrenière (12) – Mike Zibanejad (9:53) Even Strength

3rdPeriod 4-2 New York – Ryan Strome (11) – Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox (14:03) Even Strength

3rd Period 5-2 Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (17) – Thatcher Demko (17:51) Empty Netter

Lots of Pressure

The Vancouver Canucks forecheck was impressive Sunday night. Officially the Rangers had 7 giveaways to the Canucks having just 2. Multiple lines of forecheckers had success pinning down New York in their end.

“We wanted to get in on them, their defence is young, a little bit inexperienced and they played last night,” Boudreau said. “The key for us was to get in on the forecheck, turn pucks over and play in their end. If they play in our end, their team is too good and too skilled, you could see how many great, golden opportunities they have … the Highmore line and Lammikko, they’re really good at it because they can all skate and they created the opportunities and they scored a couple of goals for us.”

They said it:

“I thought we played a really good middle frame, I thought our 1st period was pretty good as well. We did not have our skating legs just yet but after that we did a really good job. They got a couple in the third but we locked it down once that happened.” – Canucks forward Matthew Highmore

“Wins are precious to us right now, we know every game we’ve gotta come out and show up every night, so, starting off the road the right way is huge too to get some momentum heading into these next three games. Yeah, a huge win for sure.” – Canucks Goalie Thatcher Demko

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Thatcher Demko – Well yeah.  31 saves on 33 shots with many biggees early on.

2) JT Miller – Two assists, two hits, two takeaways, plus-3, in 18:29 of ice time against the team that drafted him in the 1st-round in 2011.

1) Matthew Highmore – Forecheck! A goal and an assist one day after his 26th birthday. Key cog on an effective penalty kill that went 3-for-3 in the game.

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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