Photo Credit: © Gerry Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Thatcher Demko could start game five as Markstrom’s status looms

Jacob Markstrom looked like an average NHL goaltender in the Vancouver Canucks’ game four loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday evening.

For Markstrom, that’s just not good enough.

He was far from happy with his performance, making quick work of his postgame media availability.

“I felt fine, I wanted to have all five of those goals back,” Markstrom quipped.

If you read the article that ran on this site a few days back, you’ll know noted goaltending guru Kevin Woodley warned that playing so much could eventually catch up to Markstrom. For those that didn’t see it, here’s what Woodley had to say ahead of game four:

“There’s no question fatigue could be an issue by those last two games and it will most likely show up in sloppy details in his game, not unlike what happened game 4 vs Minny with all the post-play mistakes and sharp angle goals. Markstrom’s your MVP, so unless there are clear signs of fatigue and they have a cushion — maybe up 3-2 going into Game 6 and knowing you’ll only get a 75% Marky if you keep riding him vs giving him a game off and getting him at 100% for the next one — it’s hard to see them going to Demko. The good news is Demko got a taste and looked settled but there was no pressure. Look at Francouz in Colorado. He was fine all season, in fact, he was really good all season, and he just doesn’t look like the same goalie right now, whether it’s because he’s coming off the pause and hasn’t found his game yet, or maybe his first time in the playoffs is too big a moment for him right now. Whatever the reason, his game has fallen off compared to the regular season”

Fatigue appears to have played a factor in that game, because Markstrom allowed goals that he just doesn’t typically let in.

As a result, Thatcher Demko could now be thrust into what will undoubtedly be the highest pressure game he’s ever played in.

As expected, head coach Travis Green didn’t tip his hand in his media availability, saying to “wait and see”, but TSN1040’s Matt Sekeres offered the following update:

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My understanding is that the only way Demko plays tonight is if Markstrom isn’t physically able to.

Should he get the nod, Vegas will do everything they can to get to Demko early and not allow him to settle in tonight. This game presents itself as potentially a huge opportunity for Demko to showcase himself to the organization as someone they can trust to start big games in the playoffs.

We’ll have to wait and see who leads the Canucks out tonight.