Demko makes 36 saves for Canucks in 4-3 win over Sabres
The Associated Press01/19/19, 01:09
Thatcher Demko made 36 saves in his second NHL game, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Alex Edler, Sven Baertschi, Brock Boeser and Loui Eriksson scored for Vancouver.
Buffalo got goals from Evan Rodrigues, Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart. Linus Ullmark stopped 19 shots.
Demko, who made one appearance for the Canucks last season, was called up Jan. 4 from the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League after Vancouver traded backup goalie Anders Nilsson to Ottawa.
The 23-year-old netminder was tested early and often Friday, and his performance had the crowd chanting “Dem-Ko! Dem-Ko!” in appreciation of some highlight-reel saves.
Rodrigues beat the young goaltender 8:48 in after Rasmus Ristolainen got a pass to the left wing down low and Rodrigues chipped it up over Demko’s pad.
Vancouver had yet to register a single shot.
Edler got the Canucks on the board 3½ minutes later with a massive slap shot from the blue line. The speeding puck squeezed through traffic and past Ullmark down low.
Vancouver went up by one at 15:31 of the first after defenseman Derrick Pouliot sliced a pass through the Buffalo crease to Baertschi, who collected it on his tape and popped the puck into a wide-open net.
The Swiss left wing sustained a concussion in October that kept him out of the lineup for 30 games. He has six points since he returned late last month.
Early in the second, Pouliot and fellow defenseman Erik Gudbranson got caught behind the Vancouver net, leaving Okposo wide open at the hash marks. The right wing got the puck and flipped a backhand past Demko to even the score.
Vancouver pulled ahead once again eight minutes into the period.
Bo Horvat stripped Buffalo’s Lawrence Pilut of the puck and made a beautiful pass to Boeser in front of the Sabres net. The right wing tipped it in for his 16th goal of the season.
Horvat’s assist was his 200th NHL point.
But the lead didn’t last long. Almost three minutes later, Conor Sheary made a quick pass to Reinhart in front of the Vancouver crease and he put in a no-look backhand up high.
Nearly six minutes into the third, Canucks left wing Josh Leivo dug out the puck from behind the Buffalo net and dished it to Eriksson. He put a one-timer past Ullmark for his fourth point in three games.
The Sabres had opportunities to tie it again on a power play late in the third. Ullmark was pulled with 87 seconds left, but Demko held strong.