May 24th, 2024

Canucks to start rookie Arturs Silovs in pivotal Game 5

By Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press on April 30, 2024.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Arturs Silovs (31) blocks a shot on goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks will start rookie goalie Arturs Silovs as they look to eliminate the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.

The 23-year-old Latvian led the Canucks out for warm-ups after head coach Rick Tocchet said earlier in the day that his choice of netminder would be a “game-time decision.”

The Canucks have started three different goalies in the series and each has earned a win, giving Vancouver a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.

All-star goalie Thatcher Demko was in net for Vancouver in Game 1, but sustained a lower-body injury and is currently listed as week to week.

He was replaced by Casey DeSmith, who went 1-1-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in Games 2 and 3 before going down with a lower-body injury.

Silovs got the start in Game 4, stopping 27 shots in his first-ever NHL playoff appearance as the Canucks came back from a late two-goal deficit to beat the Preds 4-3 in overtime.

DeSmith has been working his way back to full health and will be the backup for Game 5.

Tocchet said the decision about who would start Tuesday would be based on the health and recent performances of his goalies.

“You look at where that person is at injury-wise, you talk to the doctor, you talk to the trainer. And then you talk to him,” he said as his team skated Tuesday morning. “There has to be a three-way conversation. And then you make your decision.”

Vancouver’s goalie situation is unlike anything veteran forward J.T. Miller has experienced over his 82 career playoff games.

“Maybe the starter a little bit, but never that many,” he said.

The way the netminders have responded to the adversity is important, Miller added.

“In the playoffs, it’s the next-man-up mentality, and I think that goes for the goalies too,” he said. “They’ve been unreal. I couldn’t imagine being in their spot where you do a lot of sitting around. “¦ Those are big moments of the series.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

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