It was a shock for everyone earlier on Tuesday when Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green announced that Thatcher Demko will get his first-ever playoff start for his team’s die or die Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. The 24-year-old goalie is in his first full NHL season and has just 8:26 of playoff experience, which he earned when taking over from starter Jacob Markstrom late in Game 1.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delivered another blow to the Canucks’ fans on Tuesday ahead of the contest, reporting that Markstrom might be suffering from a groin injury and could be done even if Vancouver survives Game 5 and push the series further.
He might be out even if the Canucks can clinch a spot in the Western Conference finals.
This is tough news for the Canucks, who have been on a good run once they moved past the Minnesota Wild in the best of five qualifying round. While Demko is a good goaltender, he has had an up-and-down season for the Canucks, finishing with a 13-10-2 record and a .905 save percentage.
It would not be the first time however that he needs to step in for an injured Markstrom. Back in February, Demko started seven games in the final two and a half weeks before the season was paused in March. He went 3-4 during that span.
Tonight, Demko will face the Golden Knights for the first time in his NHL career. We sure hope for beginners’ luck seeing that if he loses, the Canucks will be eliminated from the postseason.