VANCOUVER – Talk about how many of their other Vancouver Canucks games should be devoted to the development of Thatcher Demko, it would be much simpler if Jacob Markstrom simply stopped playing so well.
In Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils, almost all thrilling moments between the initial drop of the record and the debutant Elias Pettersson in the second period, when Markstrom was making savings. What he did all season.
Among the players mentioned in the previous sentence, only one of them can be the Most Valuable Canucks Player, and his name does not rhymes with the Calder Trophy. Pettersson is the most exciting player in Vancouver in a generation, and his rapid growth as the best National Hockey League rookie is key to the future of Canucks.
But Markstrom was the best Canuck this season, from the beginning to (almost at the very end).
It was not Pettersson's one-handed shooting from Peter Forsberg's one-handed play from the 1994 Olympic Games – which is for Sweden what Paul Henderson's goal of 1972 is for Canada – that left 20-year-old Canuck catching the word on Friday.
It was a question about Markstrom, who was brilliant again, but he was still losing 3-2 to the Devils in the shooting after the Canucks squandered the two-goal lead in the third period.
"He was unbelievable all year round," said Pettersson, shaking his head after the break. "Without him, we would be even in a more difficult place. He is a great goalkeeper and I would like him to win more wins for him because most nights are on his mind. "
As a reminder, Pettersson said about his shooting movement, which cheated the Jersey goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood: "Of course, this move is famous (in Sweden). It's a good move if the goalkeeper bites. "
Occupied last Saturday for the first time since 52 starts in his breakthrough season as a starter, Markstrom reacted to this anomaly, stopping 52 out of 55 shots in two games, ending Friday with 33 entries.
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The percentage of Markstrom's savings for 913 in the season is misleading due to the quality of the shot he deals with as one of the weakest blue NHL lines, thinned by a continuous injury, which saw the best defenzieen by Alex Edler and Chris Taneva in only 40 with 71 games.
Two games of sprained ankle suffered a month ago, when Ryan Geztlaf fell on him in Anaheim, Tanev was cruelly wounded on Friday, when he blocked Kyle Palmieri in the first period of the game with one blow.
After a shaky test during a television break, Tanev looked depressed when he sat down briefly on the bench and dropped his head before leaving the game. He left the Rogers Arena on crutches, and coach Canucks Travis Green told reporters after the match that Tanev finished the season.
"He's a good guy, a good player and a guy we need in our team," said Markstrom. "The guy's happiness is unbelievable. Almost every injury he had had blocked arrows from one clock. You would think after breaking three or four hands, three or four legs and feet. . . he goes out there and is not afraid. "
Asked to play so often without Tanev and Edler or both, Markstrom said: "When they are healthy, it's different. It's difficult when these guys are outside. "
Probably the Canucks would have hit fewer leads, although Edler was on the ice for both goals in the last 15 minutes of regular time.
Just before Kevin Rooney freed himself from Canuck's defender Alex Biegi and hit the mark on Markstrom to win 2-1 in third place, the goalkeeper stopped Devil Blake & Coleman in the breakaway.
Just before Stefan Noesen, who was not marked directly in front of the net, he bound him at 13:34, Markstrom made an invaluable cast on Kenny & # 39; ego Agostino. Immediately after the gate, he stopped Travisa Zając on the double.
Welcome to the world of Markstrom.
Even so, it was not enough to win the Canucks. Damon Severson scored the victorious shoot-out of devils in the seventh round of the skill competition.
"We have to find ways (to win)", said Biega. "We must be better in all areas, especially in game management. I just do not think that we managed to play the right way. We are 2-0 and we should be able to play in defense of the sound.
"It seems that every game, regardless of whether we win or lose, Marky makes unbelievable savings. We can not always ask our goalkeeper to stand on his head in every game. We must help. "
Canucks will soon turn to Demko for support in the middle of the juvenile season to stand on his head.
The brilliant form of Markstrom, who had Canucks in the playoff race until February, and the knee injury that Demko suffered during the warm-up before the match on February 4, which kept him for three weeks, reduced the 23-year-old to just three. The NHL begins.
Canucks has 11 more games, starting with the first Sunday game in Dallas, and Demko should start with four or five of them, even if his backups send a signal to the players from Green, that the coach is not icing his best squad.
But Green and CEO Jim Benning need a stronger idea of what they have in Demko. Since he was appointed in 2014. Until this season, Demko was considered a goalkeeper in the future. Now, however, the future looks safe with Markstrom.