Canucks vs. Oilers: Thatcher Demko ruled out for Game 7

28 days ago

Canucks head Rick Tocchet said Saturday his No. 1 netminder will remain sidelined for Monday's Game 7 vs. the Oilers.

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Published May 18, 2024  •  Last updated 1 hour ago  •  2 minute read

Thatcher Demko makes a save against the Predators in Game 1 of the 2024 opening-round playoff series on Sunday. Photo by Derek Cain /Getty Images

Thatcher Demko may have skated with his teammates ahead of Game 6 on Saturday, but he won’t be playing in Game 7 Monday.

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Following the Vancouver Canucks’ dispiriting 5-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, evening their Pacific Division final series at three games apiece, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said his team’s No. 1 netminder won’t be an option for the series-deciding game at Rogers Arena.

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“No, Thatcher Demko is not going to play Game 7,” he said.

There had been some hope that Demko might be able to make a return from a suspected knee injury, which he suffered late in the first game of the playoffs against Nashville.

Sources said in the days that followed that concern had initially been that Demko was out for the remainder of the playoffs, but then concern settled into a roughly four-week window, which is where we are now.

It was always likely he wouldn’t be ready to play again until the conference final, which the Canucks will make if they win Game 7 on Monday. It’s expected that Game 1 of the conference final, which will start in Dallas, will be on Thursday.

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Given the standard return-to-play progression we’ve seen from Canucks director of goaltending Ian Clark, Demko will need at least a couple of full practices with his teammates before he’s cleared to return. And Tocchet said Friday that Demko needed to have some competitive practices where he would face tipped pucks and screens before he’s ready to play.

He didn’t get that Saturday morning and given that the Canucks have mostly avoided practices on off-days, he likely wouldn’t have had that on Sunday either.

And so the crease remains for Arturs Silovs.

The Canucks’ rookie netminder has performed admirably in the playoffs, doing everything that’s been asked of him and pushing the limits of what one might think he’s capable of.

He’s been ready, night in, night out, and has given his team a chance to win every night.

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