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Photo Credit: © James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Scenes from morning skate: Spencer Martin to start in Canucks must-win matchup versus Kraken

Two games are all that separates the Vancouver Canucks from a playoff berth or a spring on the golf course. And both of them are playing out tonight.

We already know the Canucks have to win the final battle against the cross-border rival Seattle Kraken tonight, but the other key matchup is happening down south in the Lone Star State. But after weeks of cheering against the Vegas Golden Knights, Vancouver desperately needs them to win in regulation tonight in Dallas against the Stars.

The tilt between the Stars and Knights kicks off at 5:30 PM Pacific, meaning the Canucks will likely know their fate by the start of the second period. The best course of action for Bruce Boudreau’s depleted squad will be to tune out the noise and focus on the task.

Without two points against the Kraken, who the Canucks have dominated in their first season together, the rest doesn’t matter. And they’ll have to do so with a surprise starting goalie, a depleted roster and Flying Skate jerseys returning to the mix.

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Let’s go to the lines!

Line Rushes

With an optional skate on the table, a number of Canucks elected to rest up before tonight’s pivotal game against Seattle.

But the biggest news of the day was the turnout in goal. Spencer Martin was spotted manning the starter’s net today, while Arturs Silovs made a surprise appearance after being called up earlier this morning.

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According to Bruce Boudreau, Thatcher Demko is currently day-to-day nursing an ailment, while it’s unlikely that Jaroslav Halak will see the ice again this season. That means the crease is potentially Martin’s for the remainder of the season. If the 26-year-old netminder can rekindle the magic from his last NHL stint, he just might be the hero this city needs.

What Was Said

While losing Demko surely hurts, head coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t see Spencer Martin as too big a downgrade thanks to Martin’s incredible run back in January.

“He held us in every game and against good competition,” Boudreau said. “We feel very comfortable with him in the net, and hopefully he feels comfortable coming back and playing for us and wanting to show that he’s ready to play in the NHL next year.”

As for the message in the locker room, Boudreau “didn’t have to say anything today”.

“I said we just our goal is to get up tomorrow morning and still be alive and as far as in the playoffs. I just want to let them know that hey, we’re still in this thing. So we’ve got to we’ve got to fight to the end.”

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Conor Garland knows the momentous number of things that have to go right for the Canucks to stay alive past tonight. But that doesn’t mean that he, or his teammates, will be taking the night off.

“We understand where we’re at. Till you get eliminated there’s always a chance to get in,” Garland said. “So we gotta go out and play hard. And it’s a game against our rivals, so it’s easy to get up for.”

Puck drop between the Canucks and Kraken at Rogers Arena is set for 7:00 PM Pacific, with television coverage on Sportsnet Pacific.