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Thatcher Demko injured, out for Game 2 between Canucks and Predators

After a fantastic performance in Game 1, Thatcher Demko is now questionable for the rest of the Canucks' first-round series against the Predators.
Thatcher Demko did the splits early in Game 1 to rob Anthony Beauvillier.

Thatcher Demko returned from injury just in time for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs but now is injured again.

After the Vancouver Canucks' victory in Game 1, Demko was not made available to the media as he was "receiving treatment." This is not unusual, so was not heavily reported at the time. Monday's practice was turned into an optional skate — just nine players participated — so Demko's absence did not seem particularly significant.

But when Demko was also missing from Tuesday's gameday skate, alarm bells started going off.

According to multiple reports — and now the Canucks' head coach, Rick Tocchet —Demko will not play in Game 2 and is in fact questionable for the rest of their series against the Nashville Predators.

UPDATE: After Tuesday's game, Tocchet confirmed that Demko will be out "week-to-week," which suggests he may indeed be out for the rest of the Canucks' first-round series against the Predators, if not longer.

Demko made 22 saves on 24 shots, none bigger — and potentially injury-inducing — than his first-period save on Anthony Beauvillier where he went into the full splits.

That evidently was not where Demko got injured, however. Instead, it was likely a much more innocuous-looking moment at the end of the game.


Demko is a major difference-maker for the Canucks and his injury casts a pall over the team's emotional Game 1 victory

Tocchet confirmed that Demko will not start in Game 2 but said Demko did skate on Monday on his own. He also said that Demko's injury is unrelated to the knee injury he suffered during the season that caused him to miss five weeks. Instead, Tocchet suggested Demko was day-to-day, leaving open the possibility for his return in the first round. 

TSN's Farhan Lalji, however, has reported that Demko's injury could indeed be to the same knee, even if it is not the same exact injury.

If Demko does indeed miss the rest of the series, the pressure will be on Casey DeSmith, who had a strong season when called upon intermittently as the team's backup but struggled when thrust into the number-one role when Demko was injured. Behind DeSmith is rookie Arturs Silovs, who has come through with heroic performances in international competition for Latvia but hasn't been able to repeat those performances at the NHL level.

DeSmith played one game against the Predators this season, making 26 saves on 28 shots in a 5-2 victory in December.

While DeSmith has limited experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, his one appearance was spectacular.

On May 3, 2022, DeSmith had to step in for the injured Tristan Jarry for the Pittsburgh Penguins, starting their first postseason game against the New York Rangers. DeSmith made 48 saves on 51 shots before leaving the game in the second overtime with an injury of his own, with Louis Domingue stepping in to make 17 more saves for the win.

The Canucks will look to allow significantly fewer than 51 shots on Tuesday night.