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Jets’ 5-0 loss against Canucks ‘the worst game’ Winnipeg played in 2 years: head coach | CBC News

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Casey DeSmith didn’t expect to be in net for the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

By the end of the night, though, the goaltender had turned away 10 shots and registered his second shutout of the season as the Canucks (42-17-7) blanked the Winnipeg Jets 5-0.

The victory may be a costly one for Vancouver, however, as all-star goalie Thatcher Demko left midway through the second period.

“Obviously not the circumstances I like to be a part of a game, but that’s a heck of a win against a really good team,” DeSmith said. “And just to go drop of the puck all the way to the end of the game and really take it to them, that was an impressive win for the team.”

The unexpected lineup change came 6:40 into the middle frame when Demko left the ice and headed directly down the tunnel. He stopped all 12 shots he faced before departing.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet did not say why his goalie left the ice.

“I haven’t talked to the doctor. I don’t think it’s too serious, but I don’t know. I can’t speculate,” Tocchet said after the game.

Hockey players celebrate a goal.
Vancouver Canucks’ Teddy Blueger (53) and Phillip Di Giuseppe (34) celebrate Giuseppe’s goal as Winnipeg Jets’ Nino Niederreiter (62) skates past during the first period of an NHL game, in Vancouver on Saturday. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

Heading into Saturday’s matchup, Demko sat tied with Alexandar Georgiev of the Colorado Avalanche with 33 wins on the season, the most in the NHL.

Getting Demko more rest is something the Canucks want to do ahead of playoffs, Tocchet said.

“We’re going to have to really manage it,” he said. “I think we play three games in 11 days or something, so there’s a lot of time for him to get some rest and whatever we got to do to get him healthy again. But yeah, we’ve got to manage him for sure.”

Vancouver’s offensive onslaught started early on Saturday, with J.T. Miller putting away his 32nd goal of the season 2:05 into the game.

Elias Pettersson, Nils Hoglander and Pius Suter each scored and notched an assist, while Phillip Di Giuseppe added a goal and Quinn Hughes had a pair of helpers.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32-of-37 shots for Winnipeg (40-18-5), who were coming off a 3-0 win over the Kraken in Seattle on Friday.

For Jets head coach Rick Bowness, the loss was less about what the Canucks did than what his team didn’t do.

“Listen, the bottom line is that’s the worst game we have played in my two years here. By far. Because we didn’t have one player play a good game. Not one,” he said. “It starts there. And it ends there. It’s as simple as that.”

Hoglander gave the home side a two-goal lead 13:47 into the first, tossing a puck on net that bounced in off Hellebuyck. The goal was the Swedish forward’s 20th of the season.

The Canucks took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission, thanks in part to Demko.

The netminder denied Mason Appleton with his left pad and the rebound bounced to Teddy Blueger in the slot. The Vancouver centre took off down the ice, then dished the puck to Di Giuseppe who tapped a shot through Hellebuyck’s pads with three minutes to go in the opening frame.

A hockey players shoots the puck.
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) stops Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele (55) as Vancouver’s Carson Soucy (7) watches during the second period. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

Vancouver went up 4-0 early in the second period when Pettersson registered his 31st goal of the year on a power play.

Hughes unleashed a blast from the point, hitting Conor Garland in the slot. The puck fell to Pettersson, who backhanded a shot in around Hellebuyck’s outstretched skate 4:04 into the second.

Vancouver was 1-for-2 with the man advantage Saturday, while Winnipeg went 0-for-1.

The score was sealed 15:06 into the third when Hoglander chipped a pass in from the boards and Suter, facing away from the net, swept it in.

A stingy Canucks defence helped DeSmith keep Winnipeg off the board, but the backup was tested late in the game. He denied Kyle Connor from in tight, then turned away the Jets star’s second chance on the ensuing rebound.

Two hockey players skate on the ice.
Vancouver Canucks’ Conor Garland (8) and Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan Samberg (54) vie for the puck during the first period. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

DeSmith said he simply warmed up as fast as he could after getting the nod.

“It was nice that I got a shot fairly early. I think it was first shift, so that’s always nice, to get the first save out of the way,” he said. “And then just go from there, try to get the body feeling good.”

The victory extended Vancouver’s win streak to four games and kept the squad atop the Western Conference standings.

The season series between the two sides is now tied at a game apiece after the Jets downed the Canucks 4-2 on Feb. 17. The teams will face off once again in Winnipeg on April 18 when they close out their regular-season campaigns.

The Jets return to Winnipeg where they’ll face the Washington Capitals on Monday.

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