Recap: Flames @ Canucks 4.16.24

VANCOUVER -- Thatcher Demko made 39 saves in his first game back from a knee injury, and the Vancouver Canucks clinched first place in the Pacific Division with a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.

Demko missed 14 games after sustaining the injury on March 9.

“I felt pretty good,” Demko said. “Definitely some stuff I want to clean up, but the important thing is getting back, seeing some game action, and obviously getting the win was great, fan appreciation night and clinching division was great.”

Tyler Myers had a goal and an assist, and J.T. Miller scored late to extend his point streak to 11 games for the Canucks (50-22-9), who have points in four straight games (3-0-1) to secure their first division title since 2013.

“Honestly, I'm just happy we won the Pacific Division,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “The guys did a [heck] of a job all year. Let's face it, nobody really picked us to win the division, so you’ve got to give the players a lot of credit. The game wasn't a Picasso, obviously but you’ve got to take the positive: we won the Pacific tonight. So, really happy for the guys. It's a big honor and the guys should enjoy it.”

CGY@VAN: Myers kicks off the game's scoring with a SHG

Brayden Pachal scored, and Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves for Calgary (37-39-5), which had won three of its previous four games.

“I thought their goalie was really good,” Flames coach Ryan Huska said. “The saves that he made, some of them were harder than he made them look, and he did a good job of controlling his rebounds.”

Myers put the Canucks ahead 1-0 with a short-handed goal at 12:00 of the first period on a wrist shot under the blocker of Markstrom from the right hash mark after Teddy Blueger’s cross-ice pass sent him on a partial breakaway.

Nils Hoglander made it 2-0 at 13:28 by finishing off a pretty passing play off the rush that started with Ilya Mikheyev pulling up inside the zone for a cross-ice pass to Elias Pettersson at the left hash mark to create a 2-on-1 down low. Pettersson passed across the crease to Hoglander to tap in his 24th goal of the season.

“That was a nice shot, [Myers] jumping up in the play,” Tocchet said. “It was a big one, got us energized and that tic-tac-toe with [Pettersson’s] line was nice. And then we kind of were just waiting for the clock to go and we stopped playing a little but winning 4-1, locking it down and obviously [Demko] was excellent.”

CGY@VAN: Hoglander finishes nice play for a 2-0 lead

Dakota Joshua made it 3-0 at 1:58 of the second period, keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 and snapping a shot far side over Markstrom’s blocker from inside the right dot.

“We made three mistakes on coming back in our own zone off the rush, we lost people, and then one turnover,” Huska said after praising his team’s effort. “But other than those mistakes, I liked what we did tonight.”

Demko made his best saves pushing left to right to get a pad on a backdoor one-timer by Martin Posposil 3:40 into the second period, and again to rob Nazem Kadri atop the crease on a power play with 2:45 left in the second.

“He’s one of the best in the League and it's different having him,” defenseman Quinn Hughes said of Demko. “[Goalie] Casey [DeSmith] has been great for us and same with [goalie Arturs Silovs], but having but [Demko] back there, it's a whole new thing.”

Pachal cut it to 3-1 at 10:56 of the third period with a wrist shot glove side through traffic from the top of the left circle. It was his second NHL goal and second this season but first with Calgary since being claimed off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 4.

“It definitely feels good,” Pachal said. “You wish it's sparked a little bit of a comeback. It still feels nice but would have felt a lot sweeter with the win.”

Miller made it 4-1 at 15:02, scoring high blocker side from the top of the left circle after a turnover put him in alone. He has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) during his point streak.

CGY@VAN: Miller extends the lead to 4-1 with breakaway goal

“A couple years ago here, it felt like time was sitting still for the team,” Miller said. “Right now, it feels good. … We have a lot of reasons to be proud right now about how far we've come and I feel like in a short amount of time.”

NOTE: The Canucks have 37 wins when scoring first (37-10-4), the most in the NHL this season.

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