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Can the Canucks Survive Without Thatcher Demko?

Overcoming the loss of their star goaltender won’t be easy.

There’s no doubt that Thatcher Demko is one of the most important players on the Vancouver Canucks. Before being injured earlier this season, he was in the middle of the Vezina conversation for a reason, and Vancouver fans were very confident he would remind everyone how good he is in his return for the playoffs. After an incredible save early in Game 1, it really looked like he WAS all the way back. Unfortunately, we all know what came after Vancouver’s opening win. With Rick Tocchet’s update that his starting goaltender is now considered week-to-week, the Canucks will need to get the job done without their All-Star netminder for at least the next few games. 

Can the Canucks do it?

They probably can against Nashville, but things might be tricky after that. Even against the Preds, it’s going to be tough. In the team’s first game without Thatcher, the Predators scored early and never gave the lead up, finishing the night with a 4-1 win. Although the loss was more on the players than Casey DeSmith, it was a good reminder that Vancouver needs their scorers to get on the sheet to win games now. They can’t rely on Demko to save everything that comes his way, and if their top guys can’t heat up, their season could come to a very abrupt end in the first round.  

One guy that needs to up his game is Elias Pettersson. The Swedish forward hasn’t made an impact in the series yet and is -4 with zero points and two shots on goal. He also missed an open net and turned the puck over on a play that resulted in Nashville’s third goal last night. He’s not shying away from owning up to his play so far, but words won’t make things right like a dominant performance on the road will. 

What Lies Ahead?

If Vancouver is able to get out of their first round series, they’ll certainly need Demko back for Round 2. Chances are, they’d be going up against the Edmonton Oilers, and if their star goaltender isn’t back for that one, I don’t like the Canucks’ chances. Vancouver dominated the Oilers in the regular season this year, but Connor McDavid looks to be on a mission. Unless DeSmith played out of his mind, I think Vancouver would have a very tough time keeping up offensively with the Oil.

Thankfully, that series could still be two weeks away. Nothing surrounding Demko is known to the public besides his week-to-week designation, so it’s tough to get an accurate estimated return. In the meantime, the Canucks simply need to score more goals than they did in Game 2. The team still carried the pace of play and dominated in terms of scoring opportunities, but the puck needs to find the back of the net again. Demko’s injury is certainly a blow, but it’s no excuse for a team this talented to not find a way to the second round. Now is the time we get to see what this core is really made of. 

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