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Three Takeaways from Canucks’ Easy 2-0 Win Over Blackhawks

The Vancouver Canucks won again, this time with a Thatcher Demko shutout against the Chicago Blackhawks. Who were key players in the game?

In a takeaways game review featuring the Canucks versus the Blackhawks, as Vancouver Canucks’ Rick Tocchet noted in his post-game media interview, the team scored two quick first-period goals and then coasted it in. The result was a strong display of hockey mastery when the best team in the NHL played the second-worst team – and one that is currently suffering tons of injuries.

The result was predictable. The Canucks asserted their dominance with a solid 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice. This win furthers the Canucks’ standing as one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. With the win, they currently have more points than any other NHL team.

Three Key Takeaways from the Canucks Win Against the Blackhawks

Here are three key takeaways from the Canucks’ impressive performance.

Takeaway One: Thatcher Demko Deserves Vezina Votes – and Lots of Them

The Canucks’ goalies as a tandem might be the best in the entire NHL. Backup Casey DeSmith is solid. However, tonight’s goalie, Thatcher Demko, is in a class by himself. He once again showed just how good he is by tossing his fifth shutout of the season against a hard-working Blackhawks team.

Thatcher Demko Canucks goaltender

Demko now has seven straight wins. One thing that makes him so good is his calm composure in the crease. There’s no question that he’s emerging as a strong contender for the Vezina Trophy. After the game, the broadcast crew even noted that there might be the potential of a showdown between Demko and Winnipeg Jets’ stellar goalie Connor Hellebuyck at the upcoming All-Star game in Toronto.

Takeaway Two: Andrei Kuzmenko‘s Rising in the Team’s Pecking Order

In a game where the Canucks’ Lotto line was quiet, Kuzmenko jumped into the spotlight. He made several excellent and confident plays that showcased his skill and hockey IQ. His strong performance covered for the team’s more potent – yet suddenly silent – top line.

Related: Canucks Prioritize Top-Six Forward at Deadline: 5 Names in Mind

What fans learned was just how deep this Canucks team is. The third line of Conor Garland, Teddy Blueger, and Dakota Joshua was present and played strong- as it has done all season. However, Kuzmenko led his line in chances and collected two great assists on the night. One was to Pius Suter and the other to all-NHL defenseman Quinn Hughes. Kuzmenko’s contribution could become a key on nights when the usual offensive suspects might not be clicking.

Takeaway Three: Defensive Brilliance and Hughes’ Impact

While offensive production from the Canucks’ Lotto Line (of Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Elias Pettersson) was quieted, the Canucks’ defensive abilities rose to the top. Although the Blackhawks had a lot of shots on the night (31 in fact) the Canucks limited their Grade A chances. By limiting the Blackhawk’s offensive chances, the team also showed depth and balance – this time on defense. In that, they showed that they had some of the key qualities of a Stanley Cup contender.

Quinn Hughes Canucks

By scoring his 12th goal of the season, Quinn Hughes continues to impress. If he’s not a lock for the Norris Trophy, he’s certainly in the conversation for being the best defenseman in the NHL. He’s smooth and composed, and he just wears down the defense with his ability to keep the puck on his stick and then surprise with amazing successful plays. The young Canucks’ captain is leading his team’s on-ice success.

The Bottom Line for the Canucks As They Head to the All-Star Break

As the Canucks head into the All-Star break, they are sitting on top of the NHL standings. They continue their upcoming homestand against the St. Louis Blues (on Wednesday) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (on Saturday). If they can win these two games, they will strengthen their NHL position further.

Related: Four Positive Takeaways from Maple Leafs Loss to the Canucks

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