Demko, Canucks open road trip with 5-2 victory over Rangers

Feb 27, 2022, 5:13 AM | Updated: 8:11 pm
Vancouver Canucks left wing Tanner Pearson reacts after scoring a goal in the first period of an NH...

Vancouver Canucks left wing Tanner Pearson reacts after scoring a goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

NEW YORK (AP) — Thatcher Demko got the Vancouver Canucks’ road trip off to a good start.

Demko made 31 saves and the Canucks beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Sunday night.

Matthew Highmore and Tyler Myers each had a goal and an assist and Tanner Pearson, Juho Lammikko and Elias Pettersson also scored for the Canucks, who opened a four-game trip.

“Starting off the road trip the right way is huge to get some momentum heading into the next three games,” Demko said.

Vancouver was also coming off a 7-1 victory over Calgary on Thursday that ended the Flames’ 10-game winning streak.

“Obviously, the Calgary game we played really well and tonight we played well too,” Demko said.

J.T. Miller, the subject of trade rumors ahead of next month’s trade deadline, had two assists for the Canucks who have won five of six overall.

Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafrenière scored third-period goals for the Rangers, who have lost for the second time in two days coming off a 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

“We’re getting good looks,” Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said. “Maybe we got a little deflated being down 2-0 after the first period. The puck just hasn’t been going in for us. It’s one of those few games when the puck doesn’t go in for you.”

Alexandar Georgiev started for the first time since Jan. 27 and made 29 saves for New York.

“That’s on us. It’s been a month,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of his backup goalie’s lack of recent use. “I was more disappointed with some of our backchecks. We didn’t work hard enough on a couple of their goals coming back.”

The Canucks opened the scoring early in the first period. Miller circled behind the net and passed to Tanner Pearson, who was driving toward the slot and wristed it past Georgiev at 3:12 for his 10th goal of the season.

Demko was especially sharp in the opening period as the Rangers had several good scoring chances. He made multiple saves on Mika Zibanejad from in close a few minutes in and stopped Chris Kreider’s backhand a minute after Pearson’s goal. Demko stopped Kreider again in front of the net on the Rangers’ first power play midway through the period, made a nice save on Kreider again on the Rangers’ next power play and denied K’Andre Miller’s attempt late in the final minute.

Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau was pleased with his goalie’s stellar play.

“He’s been incredible. The Calgary game wasn’t a 7-1 game and this game wasn’t a 5-2 game, if it wasn’t for Demko early it would have been a lot different,” Boudreau said. “When you get that kind of goaltending you don’t have to score five goals to win.”

After the save on K’Andre Miller, the Canucks drove the other way and scored as J.T. Miller sent a pass to Myers, who scored his first goal of the season at 19:21.

“The first we had two or three power plays and he made some key saves,” Gallant said of Demko.

The Canucks made it 3-0 at 6:06 of the second. Defenseman Luke Schenn shot from the point and Lammikko deflected it past Georgiev for his sixth of the season.

Demko kept it that way as he stopped Kreider on a breakaway midway through the period.

The Canucks added to the lead on the power play when Highmore tipped in Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s shot from the point at 15:16.

Trailing 4-0 after two periods, the Rangers took advantage of a Canucks turnover as Zibanejad sent a pass to Lafrenière, who scored his 12th of the season at 9:53. Strome made it 4-2 when he scored his 11th of the season at 14:03.

“When you go down four, it’s a pretty big hole,” Strome said. “We stuck with it until the end … obviously a frustrating result for sure. It’s a results business. The work ethic is there. The compete is there. We just have to find ways to bear down sometimes and get that goal.”

Pettersson added an empty-net goal, assisted by Demko, at 17:51 to seal the win.

NOTES: J.T. Miller has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in his past eight games. … The Rangers fell to 17-5-3 at Madison Square Garden this season.

UP NEXT

Canucks: At New Jersey on Monday night.

Rangers: Host St. Louis on Wednesday night.

___

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Demko, Canucks open road trip with 5-2 victory over Rangers