Vancouver Canucks, Spencer Martin

The Canucks Goalie Tightrope – Habs Pregame

Canucks Shaky Game

If things weren’t dicey enough already, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves relying on one goalie in Spencer Martin who’s been very good for the most part, but only has twenty games of NHL experience, while his back-up Collin Delia has a whopping total of thirty-two.

Incumbent number-one Thatcher Demko was officially placed on injured reserve on Monday, expected to miss six weeks with a lower body injury.

Martin started his Vancouver Canucks tenure like gangbusters last season. Although used sparingly, he finished with an NHL record of 3-0-and-3 for the campaign as an occasional replacement for Demko and Jaroslav Halak.

So far, Martin’s goals against average this season is 3.08, nothing close to last year’s 1.75, but he still has managed to post a 7-2-and-1 record thus far. The Canucks skaters seem to have a certain confidence when he’s between the pipes, similar to what they showed last year when Demko was starting.

Martin takes the reigns Monday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’ve always had confidence in him because every time I’ve put him in he’s played well,” Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said after the morning skate. “He’s a quiet guy, there’s no doubt about it, but I think he’s quietly confident in his abilities and that’s great.”

The Canucks are rolling with inexperience in the most important slot on the ice. It’s intriquing, it’s exciting in a way, partially due to the risk involved and the amazing story that could potentially come out of this.

Of course, it’s also perilous. Martin wasn’t too crazy about his performance in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 29th.

“I take a lot of the responsibility for this loss because the goalie has a unique way to affect the game and I felt early in the game I didn’t do enough to give ourselves a chance to win,” Martin said postgame.

That can’t be. In fact, Martin may be called upon to steal a game or two if the Canucks are to get into the playoff conversation.

Since the loss to the Capitals, Martin hopped in and replaced an injured Demko late in the first period of a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers and then beat the Arizona Coyotes in overtime 3-2.

“What have you done for me lately” will become a common refrain. That’s simply life between the pipes in the big show.

Martin’s show officially begins Monday night against a Habs team that scores the 7th fewest goals per game in the NHL.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.