With three of their former players entering the Hockey Hall of Fame this weekend, the visiting Vancouver Canucks will be out to honor them by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Former Canucks forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin and goaltender Roberto Luongo are among those being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Vancouver has split the first two games of a five-game trip after losing 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Toronto has dropped two straight after losing 4-2 to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in the Hall of Fame Game.
The Canucks will need to start faster Saturday than they did against the Canadiens. Goaltender Thatcher Demko allowed three goals in the first 12:23 of the first period on Wednesday.
“Thatcher owes us nothing,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat said. “He has stolen so many games for us and we have to play well in front of him. He’s an elite goaltender and has been doing this for a long time. … We know the start wasn’t good enough and there’s no excuse for it. There were parts I really liked — when we established a forecheck and got on their defense — but they’re a fast team and it wasn’t good enough all around.”
Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said he saw at least one thing he liked in the game.
“If you’re looking for positives, we never quit,” he said. “We don’t hit the post on the power play and all of a sudden it’s 4-3 and then who knows? They probably let up in the third period and we came on a bit. You wish you could keep your foot on the gas for 60 minutes, and that’s the goal.”
Demko said he let the team down, however.
“I’m not doing as good a job as I know I can do,” he said on Friday. “It’s something that as a teammate, as a competitor, you know, it kind of eats at you.”
Canucks backup goalie Spencer Martin will play at least one of the games this weekend. Vancouver will visit the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
Maple Leafs goaltender Erik Kallgren was not happy with his performance, either, on the go-ahead goal Friday by Pittsburgh’s Brock McGinn early in the third period in a 4-2 loss to the Penguins.
“It’s not good enough, by me,” said Kallgren, who made 19 saves. “Got to save that one. Make that save and we have a good chance of winning the game.”
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said Kallgren needs to move past that game.
“I thought he played well and has been playing really well for us,” Keefe said. “So shake that one off and feel good about how you’ve been playing, giving your team a chance to win.”
Keefe would not say who would start in goal on Saturday. Matt Murray (groin injury), who has not played since Oct, 12. is close to a return, but Keefe said Murray would not play Saturday.
Ilya Samsonov (knee) is out. Kallgren’s backup has been Keith Petruzzelli, who would be making his NHL debut if he plays.
“It’s our job to make (Petruzzelli) feel comfortable,” defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “He’s been doing a great job for us in practice. He is always ready. If he’s in (Saturday), our group is confident.”
During pregame ceremonies Friday, former Maple Leafs defenseman Borje Salming received a long, emotional ovation. He announced in August that he has
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Now 71, Salming played with the Maple Leafs from 1973-89, then spent his final season with the Detroit Red Wings (1989-90). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996, becoming its first Sweden-born player.
–Field Level Media