The Canucks are riding an offensive high at the moment.
Over the past three weeks, the Vancouver Canucks have scored at a stunning pace, nearly five goals per game.
That’s a pace not seen since the mid-1980s Edmonton Oilers.
In other words, it’s not going to keep up.
And it’s covered over a mild dip in form by Thatcher Demko, who has posted a .914 save percentage since Feb. 21. That’s still a very respectable number, but it’s below the .922 save percentage he’s posted since Dec. 5, the day Bruce Boudreau was hired.
Scoring goals like they are has given the Canucks that confidence they were desperately searching for earlier in the season.
“We have that belief in our room that we can beat any team and we’ve shown resilience when we’re down,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat said after Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. “I think it was just us growing as a group and growing as a team that we didn’t have at the beginning. of the year.”
Given the pace of their schedule coming up, it was a bit of a surprise the Canucks chose to have a full practice Saturday at Scotia Barn in Burnaby.
With games every other night until the end of the month, rest will be at a premium. The Canucks have played 59 games this season and this is the time of the season when wear-and-tear injuries start to creep in.
But practice they did… well they almost all did. It was not a surprise that Demko didn’t skate. He’s going to play the bulk, perhaps even all, of the games in the coming weeks.
And he’s likely to be absent from most Canucks practices going forward, Boudreau said earlier this week.
Dave Zarn, the team’s assistant athletic therapist, stood in for Demko as the second goalie to Jaro Halák at practice.
Travis Hamonic was also absent from practice for what the team ended a “maintenance day.” Tucker Poolman, who is working his way back from a bout with migraines, skated in Hamonic’s place alongside Brad Hunt.
Matthew Highmore’s role on the Canucks is pretty clear: make things hard on the other team, no matter what it takes.
Sometimes that means throwing hard hits into the boards. Those can make a lot of noise.
The way he crashed into the boards behind the net on Friday night was not the way he wanted to make noise, though.
He lost an edge as he rounded the net and crashed knees-first into the end boards. He left the game looking pretty uncomfortable but did come back to the game.
And he seemed none the worse for wear during Saturday’s practice.
“The boards hurt, I learned that one pretty quick,” he said with a grin. “There was something on my skate blade. It was an unfortunate time to fall into the boards.”