VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Thatcher Demko made 27 saves in his second shutout of the season, and the Vancouver Canucks beat Jake Oettinger and the Dallas Stars 2-0 on Saturday night.
Pius Suter and Elias Pettersson scored in the second period as the Canucks improved to 4-0-1 at home. Vancouver (8-2-1) is 5-0-1 in its last six games.
It was Demko's fifth career shutout. He is 7-0-0 against Dallas.
“It feels great to see that commitment level, and you can tell the guys are playing for one another,” the 27-year-old Demko said.
“It’s a special feeling when that kind of takes over the room. We’re excited about tonight. We know we’ve been playing some good hockey, but obviously we still have to continue to grow. It’s one game at a time. Enjoy tonight but get back to work.”
Oettinger stopped 26 shots for the Stars (7-2-1), who had won three in a row and six of seven overall.
“We had a couple opportunities to maybe get the first goal, which I think would have been critical tonight,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “They got it. I think it was one of those nights where whoever gets that first goal, it’s a big advantage. It looked, right from the start, like neither goalie was going to give up a whole lot.”
Each team came up empty on the power play. Vancouver went 0 for 5 against the NHL’s second-best penalty kill, while Dallas was 0 for 3 with the man advantage.
“I like our penalty kills,” said Canucks coach Rick Tocchet, who made that a point of emphasis for improvement this season and now has Vancouver up to a success rate of better that 78%. “We’ve had some unfortunate 5-on-3s this year, some goals. But structurally, I think we’ve done a nice job.”
A fast-paced first period was scoreless thanks to strong goaltending at both ends. The highlight was a point-blank glove save on Wyatt Johnston by Demko during the Stars’ first power play, just more than five minutes in.
“That was a huge save,” said Dallas forward Sam Steel. “He put a good shot on it, too. A lot of times those go in, and it’s a big save. I guess it shifted momentum a bit.”
The Canucks opened the scoring 4:21 into the second, when Suter worked a give-and-go with Dakota Joshua before breaking to the slot and directing the puck past Oettinger’s glove hand. It was Suter’s second goal this season, and second in two games.
With 5:06 left in the middle period, Pettersson connected for his sixth goal on a sharp one-timer off a pinpoint pass from Filip Hronek.
“I saw he looked over, so I was hoping for him to find me there, which he did,” Pettersson said. "Hronek can skate the puck well and he’s got good skills out there as well.”
Pettersson beat Oettinger for his 20th point of the season, tying Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils for the NHL scoring lead and extending his point streak to five games.
Shortly afterward, Ian Cole and Mason Marchment dropped the gloves after Cole laid a hard hit on Stars forward Matt Duchene, who did not return to the game.
“I don’t have an update on him,” DeBoer said. “I understand that he’s doing pretty good, so that’s the latest I’ve heard.”
Stars: Host Boston on Monday night before a three-game trip.
Canucks: Host Edmonton on Monday night in the finale of a two-game homestand.
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