Canucks Weekly Fares: Goalie Struggles and a 3-1 Stranglehold

By: Trent Leith / April 29, 2024  

Goalie Injuries

Following the team’s game one win over Nashville, Canucks fans received a rude awakening before game two when news broke that Thatcher Demko was not going to be suiting up for game two due to a knee injury sustained towards the end of game one.

This news was absolutely deflating for Canucks fans, the team, and most of all Demko. The City could hardly celebrate their first playoff win for more than a day, before news broke that threatened to harpoon the rest of the Canucks post-season run.

It’s no secret how vital Demko is to the Vancouver Canucks, Demko allows this team to play with confidence, his ability to make routine saves along with massive game-defining robberies is not something every team can say they have in their netminder.

Vancouver is very lucky to have Casey DeSmith as their backup, Casey was a respectable solution while Demko was out with his other knee injury towards the latter half of this season. However, it just speaks to how important Demko is to this club that his loss makes it hard to feel like the Canucks’ Cup contending odds haven’t just taken a massive dip.

This all sounds very doom and gloom, but it isn’t yet confirmed if Demko will actually be done for the season, he is currently traveling with the team and has been a big support element to Casey DeSmith off the ice.

On Friday Elittle Friedman of Sportsnet said that he “doesn’t think this is something that can be solved by surgery” pointing to his assumption that the team will just have to rest Demko, pointing to the reason for the week-to-week status.

The Demko situation however was unfortunately not the only goalie trouble that the Canucks found themselves in last week. The morning of game four it was announced that Arturs Silovs was set to be the game’s starter, in place of Casey DeSmith.

DeSmith remained a game-time decision as of the morning press conference when Tocchet declined to confirm DeSmith as game fours starter. Being as DeSmith wasn’t written out of a game four appearance until late in the afternoon, this gives fans hope that DeSmith will be back in the saddle for game five.

Game 2 In Vancouver

The vibes in game two were decidedly less immaculate than in game one. As we already talked about, we learned there would be no Thatcher Demko, during warm-ups we learned that Tyler Myers had the flu and also would not suit up.

Picture this, the Canucks fans are chanting “Let’s go Casey” supporting Casey DeSmith as he was thrust into the starting position. The first shot of the game beat DeSmith and the atmosphere dried up in the arena.

Suter got the next scoring chance of the game. Suter had a shot on a wide-open net, but an athletic Saros was able to get across and enough of the puck to keep it out of the net. To end the period Pettersson had a wide-open net to shoot on and he hit the outside of the net.

Missing empty net goals ended up being a theme of this game. So would blocked shots.

In the second period, Filip Forsberg opened the scoring after being left with time and space in front of DeSmith.

Colton Sissons scored the 3-0 goal after Pettersson made a bad pass to no one in particular and the Predators made sure the Canucks for the mistake. Shortly after, fans in the arena were shouting for the team to shoot the puck and that is exactly what he did. Big Zaddy scored the only Canucks goal with a shot from the top of the circles bringing some life back into the game.

Miller came close to bringing it within on in the third period when his shot went off a skate, passed Saros and ultimately off the post. Kiefer Sherwood would score an empty net goal to give the game it’s final score of 4-1.

The third period of the game on Tuesday saw the Canucks have a Corsi of 88%, but despite that, they only had 6 shots on net. Why? The Preds blocked 30 shots in the game, allowing only 18 to reach the net. The Canucks set a franchise record for shot attempts in a playoff game, despite that they didn’t even reach 20 shots.

Simply put, it was not the Canucks night, none of the bounces went their way, and seemingly all of them went Nashville’s way. The Canucks simply need to put Tuesday’s game in the rearview and worry about getting a win or two while in Nashville.

Canucks Flip the Script in Game 3

After a disappointing slog of a loss to Nashville at home in Game 2, the Canucks hopped on a plane and traveled the 3272km to Nashville to kick off their two-game stint in the music city. However, despite the Canucks leaving town, this didn’t mean that Vancouver was going to sit around patiently awaiting their return.

For the price of $15, fans could pack into Rogers Arena and watch the Canucks play on the road, and that they did. The atmosphere inside Rogers Arena seemed nearly as electric as it would’ve been if the Canucks were on home ice.

The Canucks gifted Nashville two power plays early in the game and almost lost Dakota Joshua for the rest of the contest due to one of the penalties being a Boarding call Joshua received against Spencer Stastney. This was initially called a major penalty but was reduced to a minor after further review.

It was the Canucks however that finally made use of a powerplay opportunity and finally earned the team an opening goal in the playoff series. Who else but J.T. Miller with a powerful wrist shot, assisted by Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, to bring the team up one nothing.

Early in the second period, off of yet another power play opportunity, Vancouver scored their second goal of the night. This time at the hands of Brock Boeser who was simply in front of the net, at the exact right time. Despite a shove from Jeremy Lauzon while receiving Miller’s centering pass, Boeser was able to quickly redirect the puck through Juuse Saros’ legs, and just like that the Canucks were 2/3 on the power play and lead the game 2-0.

Nashville’s Luke Evangelista did earn a late goal for the Predators with less than five minutes left to play in the third period, but Vancouver’s overall dominance led them through the rest of the period and to a final score of 2-1. the Canucks flipped the script on Nashville in this game, blocking 28 shot attempts, two less than what Nashville stood in front of the game before.

Canucks fans should feel good about the fact that not only can the Canucks copy and combat Nashville’s method of play that they employed in game 2, but the Canucks can do this while still maintaining strong possession numbers. At least in the first two periods, the Canucks controlled the pace of play. This is something that Nashville couldn’t do in their game 2 win, as their possession numbers were awful, relying on their one trick of blocking shots. The Canucks however, can do both.

Canucks Come Back With an Important Win

The Canucks hit the ice on Sunday afternoon in front of their third starting goalie in 4 games. Silov’s got the tap because Demko and DeSmith are both dealing with injuries.

When Brock Boeser scored on the Canucks first shot of the game it felt like there might be hope in Vancouver despite the goalie troubles. After a strong East-West passing play, Boeser was gifted a golden opportunity to score his second goal of the playoffs.

After that, every Canucks not named Artūrs Šilovs played 52 consecutive minutes of bad hockey. Mark Jankowski scored a few minutes after Boeser did. Jeremy Lauzon took a cheap shot and shoved Pettersson into the crowd of cheering Predators.

This is what those in the biz call ‘the game within the game‘. This is how the Preds are going to keep Pettersson in his head. Nothing is going right for Pettersson right now, and I am sure he is probably thinking that skating along the boards, and then he gets shoved on the ice. This is effectively rubbing your dog’s nose in the dump they took in the living room.

Forsberg scored the third goal for the Preds and it was something of a controversial call. Forsberg appeared to kick the puck in, but ultimately the goal stood and there was no challenge.

Editor’s note:
Despite the clips appearing very similar, the above clip was incorrect, this is the correct clip:

Regardless of how we felt about the goal, it ultimately counted. 

The Canucks turned on the after-burners and Boeser scored with 2:49 remaining in the third period with the net empty.

Colton Sissons nearly put the game out of reach when his bid on the empty net hit the post.

At this point, we had a ball game on our hands baby. And Boeser still had more to give. With only 6.2 seconds remaining, Brock Boeser scored the tieing goal to force overtime.

This is what playoffs are all about, an unlikely comeback in the eleventh hour to force overtime.

This game had all the callings of a long overtime game, but just as Canucks fans settled in for a long night of overtime, Elias Lindholm scored.

Only 1:02 into the extra frame, Lindholm was left alone and he made no mistake making the Predators pay for it.

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high-stakes

The Canucks went from being down 3-1 to winning the game 4-3 in only 3:53 of time.

It was far from a perfect performance from the Canucks as a whole. The Canucks only managed 20 shots on net and only had a 35% Corsi in the third period despite chasing the game. But in the playoffs, the only thing that matters is the results. Despite how ugly the game was for 90% of it, the part that wasn’t ugly is the part that ultimately counted.