Canucks’ Thatcher Demko out for Game 2 vs. Predators with injury

The Vancouver Canucks will play Game 2 without their star goaltender. Thatcher Demko is out for Game 2 with an injury, Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said Tuesday.

Demko is considered questionable for the balance of Vancouver’s first-round series against the Nashville Predators, team sources indicated to The Athletic’s Rick Dhaliwal. Demko — who has a detailed and intensive game-day routine, taking the ice for morning skate regardless of whether the rest of the team does — was absent for the club’s optional morning skate ahead of Game 2. He also missed the club’s optional practice Monday.

He returned to action for the Canucks last week, getting in two regular-season games and starting Game 1 after missing five weeks due to a knee injury sustained in late March.

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In Game 1, Vancouver’s starter, a probable Vezina nominee, was sharp — stopping 20 of 22 Predators shots, and outperforming the expected number of goals against according to public analytics models, including He is, without question, one of the Canucks’ single most important players.

In Demko’s absence, the club will turn to Casey DeSmith, the veteran backup who has played solid hockey in relief of Demko this season. In 29 appearances, DeSmith has amassed a 12-9-6 record with a .896 save percentage.

Pressed into regular action when Demko was injured, DeSmith’s form faded a bit down the stretch, but he bounced back significantly in his most recent start — a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on the road. In that victory, which all but wrapped up the Pacific Division crown for Vancouver, DeSmith was excellent, particularly in the first period, when the Oilers carried play and generated high-danger scoring chances at a significant clip.

Young goaltender Arturs Silovs was recalled by the club on emergency conditions to serve as an “EBUG” or emergency netminder Sunday. Silovs appeared in four games for the Canucks this season, picking up points in all four starts despite some inconsistency.

If Vancouver terminates the emergency conditions on Silovs’ loan and utilize him as a backup for Game 2, the club can — and likely will — use an emergency recall to bring up another netminder from its Abbotsford-based American League affiliate to serve as their EBUG in this series.

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(Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today)

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