Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) celebrates his goal past the Buffalo Sabres with teammates Troy Stecher (51) and Bo Horvat (53) during second period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Friday, Jan 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

VANCOUVER — Goalie Thatcher Demko guided his Vancouver Canucks to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, stopping 36-of-39 shots in his second-ever NHL appearance.

Alex Edler, Sven Baertschi, Brock Boeser Loui Eriksson all scored for Vancouver (22-21-6).

The Sabres (24-18-6) got goals from Evan Rodrigues, Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart.Linus Ullmark had 19 saves.

Demko — who played a single game for Vancouver last season — was called up from the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets on Jan. 4 after the club traded backup netminder Anders Nilsson to the Ottawa Senators.

The 23-year-old goalie was tested early and often on Friday, and put up an performance that had the crowd chanting “Dem-Ko!” in appreciation for some highlight reel-worthy stops.

Buffalo’s Rodrigues beat the young goaltender to get the scoring started 8:48 in after Rasmus Ristolainen got a pass to the left-winger 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 three-and-a-half minutes later, taking a massive slap shot from the blue line. The speeding puck snuck through traffic and in past Ullmark down low.

Vancouver went up by one 15:31 into the first after defenceman 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-winger suffered 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 frame, both Pouliot and fellow defenceman Erik Gudbranson got caught down behind the Vancouver net, leaving Okposo wide open at the hash marks.

The right-winger got the puck and flipped a back-handed shot past Demko to even the score.

Vancouver pulled ahead once again eight minutes into the second 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-winger tipped it in for his 16th goal of the season.

Horvat’s assist was his 200th NHL point.

RELATED: Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

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 the B.C. native put a no-look back-handed shot top shelf.

Nearly six minutes into the third period, Canucks left-winger Josh Leivo dug the puck out from behind Buffalo’s net and dished it to Eriksson.

Eriksson put a one-timer past Ullmark for his fourth point in three games.

The Sabres had opportunities to tie things up once again on a power play late in the third with Ullmark pulled with 87 seconds left, but Demko held strong.

The Canucks will be back in action on Sunday when they host the Detroit Red Wings.

The Sabres are now off until after the all-star break.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Ben Hutton (27) goes into the boards with Buffalo Sabres centre Vladimir Sobotka (17) during second period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Friday, Jan 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Just Posted

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: A sunny Easter Sunday

Temperatures will peak at approximately 20C region-wide

Petition to stop new cell tower too close to Kelowna homes

An online petition was started to stop cell tower construction near Ellison Elementary School

Local Kelowna project tabs restaurant workers for industry fundraiser

The 2nd Hungry Games invites fundraises for local charities

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Peeling away: OK strip clubs disappearing

Hear from Penticton’s only strip club owner about their success in a dying industry

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Okanagan township’s open burning winds down

Spallumcheen reminds residents of regulation changes as open burning concludes April 30

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Most Read