Canucks’ rookie goaltender, Thatcher Demko, 22, backstopped the Canucks to a 5-4 victory against the Blue Jackets for his first career NHL win (via @Canucks/Twitter)

Star prospect Thatcher Demko backstops Canucks to win over Columbus in his NHL debut

Former Blue Jacket Jussi Jokinen has three points, helping Vancouver to 5-4 OT triumph

Rookie goaltender Thatcher Demko had 26 saves in his first career NHL game, helping the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-4 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in action Saturday afternoon at Rogers Arena.

Darren Archibald, Nikolay Goldobin, Jussi Jokinen, Bo Horvat and Alex Edler (with the OT winner) scored for Vancouver (29-40-9), while Seth Jones, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Zach Werenski and Cam Atkinson tallied for the Blue Jackets (44-29-5).

Joonas Korpisalo stopped 24 Canucks shots in taking the loss for the Blue Jackets.

@tdemko30 is ready 😁

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After a Daniel Sedin penalty, Columbus got on the board at 13:55 of the opening period, when defenceman Jones fired a slapshot off the goalpost and in as Demko was screened by his own teammate, Archibald. The goal was the 16th of the season for Jones.

Demko was especially sharp in the second period, making one unbelievable save on a Columbus 2-on-1.

Vancouver tied the game up with eight minutes and seven seconds left in the second period on Archibald’s fourth goal of the season.

Archibald flew up the left boards and took a hard wrist shot. Korpisalo got a piece of the puck with his glove but it found its way into the back of the net. On the play, Vancouver’s Ashton Sautner was awarded the only assist, earning him his first NHL point.

Vancouver broke the tie almost immediately, when Jokinen fed Goldobin with a give-and-go for a one-time slapshot through the legs of Korpisalo for his sixth goal of the season to make the score 2-1 Canucks.

Just over five minutes into the third period, Jokinen scored against his former team, converting a Jake Virtanen pass from behind the net for his fourth goal of the season.

Jokinen provided some more magic when he helped extend the Canucks lead. Jokinen skated into the Columbus end and sent a saucer pass to Horvat, who roofed the puck above Korpisalo’s glove side to set a new career high in goals with his 21st of the season.

Columbus clawed back on the power play, when Dubois received a pass in the slot and slid the shot underneath Demko for his 19th goal of the season at 16:02 of the period.

With their goalie pulled, Columbus brought the game within one goal at 18:23, when Artemi Panarin sent a cross-ice pass to Werenski for his 15th goal on the season.

Just 16 seconds later, Seth Jones sent another cross-ice pass to Atkinson at the back door to tie the game up at 4-4.

In overtime, it took the Canucks a minute and 21 seconds to cap off the victory when Edler had the puck all alone on the side of the net and snapped a wrist shot past Korpisalo’s blocker side.

GAME NOTES:

Vancouver: Demko currently holds a 23-12-4 record with a 2.49 GAA for the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League this year… Centre Adam Gaudette played in his second NHL game this afternoon. He led the NCAA with 60 points (30-30-60) in 38 games this season.

Columbus: Forward Thomas Vanek was traded from Vancouver for Tyler Motte and Jokinen on Feb. 28… Columbus had won 12 of their last 13 games before facing Vancouver… Jones had a goal and three assists in the afternoon… Forward Panarin had four assists in the game.

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