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

Nelson’s Charlie PS shortlisted for CBC award

Voting ends Tuesday for the prize

Nelson Nordic Club gets nerdy at provincials

The club had several podium finishes at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Bronze for Nelson boxer at Canada Winter Games

Brayden Hellekson defeated Seamus O’Brien on Wednesday

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read