Thatcher Demko stops 33 shots, Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-0
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Thatcher Demko stopped 33 shots for his first shutout of the season and third overall in the Vancouver Canucks' 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
"He’s just solid," coach Rick Tocchet said of his goalie. "Even some of the saves he made, I think they were grade-A saves, but they’re routine. He just looked big in the net tonight, like nothing was going to get by him.
"Even when they had a couple of backdoor chances, he was there, post to post."
The last time Demko and the Canucks (35-36-7) had a shutout was Dec. 6, 2021 when they beat the L.A. Kings 4-0 in their first game under then-head coach Bruce Boudreau.
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Asked Thursday if he realized how long ago that result was, Demko smiled and answered simply.
"No," he said. "I try to stop them all every night. It doesn’t always work out that way but it feels good."
Andrei Kuzmenko, Vitali Kravtsov and J.T. Miller — into the empty net — scored and defenseman Akito Hirose had two assists to help the Canucks end a four-game losing streak.
Alex Stalock stopped 26 shots for the Blackhawks. They were coming off a 4-3 victory at Calgary on Tuesday night, but have lost nine of 10.
"We still kept plugging to the end and that’s kind of been the way we work all year," said Chicago coach Luke Richardson. "We’ll just keep staying positive and know that we’ve had a couple of stale games earlier in the year, and we usually come back and get some goals the next game."
The Canucks went up 2-0 early in the second period after Jonathan Toews was called for hooking. Kravtsov fired a one-timer into the net for his first goal for Vancouver 3:53 into the frame. The Canucks acquired the 23-year-old winger from the New York Rangers at the end of February.
Kuzmenko opened the scoring with a long-range blast 16:16 into the game.
Stationed at the point, the Russian winger fired a rocket through traffic and past Stalock’s glove for his 38th goal of the season.
Canucks defenseman Cole McWard made his NHL debut. The 21-year-old signed a two-year, entry-level deal with Vancouver on Tuesday after completing his second season at Ohio State.
Vancouver won all three meetings between the two sides this season. Thursday’s result followed a 5-2 victory at Rogers Arena on Jan. 24 and a 4-2 win in Chicago on March 26.
Blackhawks: At Seattle on Saturday night.
Canucks: Host Calgary on Saturday night.