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

Columbia Valley RCMP searching for missing person

Police ask for help in finding Elizabeth Stewart, who hasn’t contacted family since Jan. 14

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Snow storm hits East Kootenay

Fernie expected to get the most accumulation at roughly 20-25 centimetres by the end of the day

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read