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Canucks coach Rick Tocchet says Thatcher Demko won’t play in Game 7

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Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
27 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers won’t have to face Thatcher Demko in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks, head coach Rick Tocchet confirmed Saturday evening.
Demko, 28, has been out of commission since suffering a lower-body injury in Game 1 of the Canucks’ opening-round series against the Nashville Predators. He was briefly replaced by Casey DeSmith before Arturs Silovs took the reins as the team’s starting goaltender.
Despite numerous reports over the last couple of weeks suggesting that Demko might be able to return late in the second round, Tocchet emphatically shut down that possibility in his post-game media availability on Saturday evening.
For the most part, Silovs has had a strong start to his NHL playoff career, leading the Canucks past the Predators in six games and helping them extend this series against the Oilers to the maximum of seven. The Latvian goaltender has a 5-4 record and a .898 save percentage in nine playoff contests with the Canucks this spring.
The Canucks originally selected Silovs in the sixth round (No. 156 overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft. Before these playoffs, Silovs had appeared in just nine NHL games; he also backstopped Team Latvia to a surprise bronze medal finish at the 2023 IIHF World Championship and was named tournament MVP.
But there’s no denying that the Canucks still miss Demko, who was one of six players to represent Vancouver at this year’s NHL All-Star Game. The 6’4″ netminder posted a 35-14-2 record and a .918 save percentage in 51 games with the Canucks during the regular season and was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
The Oilers have hardly been without their own goaltending controversies in these playoffs. In the series, Stuart Skinner briefly relinquished the net to Calvin Pickard before taking it back in Game 6. Skinner only had to face 15 shots on Saturday night as the Oilers successfully shut down the Canucks’ attack.
Vancouver has led this current series three times, with the Oilers battling back at each opportunity by winning all three even-numbered games. As the Pacific Division champions in the regular season, the Canucks will host Game 7 of the series at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Monday evening.

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