Scenes from morning skate: Canucks starter to remain a mystery until warmup ahead of Game 5 against the Predators

Photo credit:© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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After a miraculous comeback victory on Sunday, the Vancouver Canucks will look to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight when they host the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their opening round series.
The Canucks have not won a playoff round on home ice since Kevin Bieksa’s stanchion goal in overtime against San Jose punched the team’s ticket to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

What we saw

Rick Tocchet is keeping the intrigue going when it comes to the identity of his starting goalie for Game 5. Arturs Silovs and Casey DeSmith were both actively involved in Tuesday’s morning skate at Rogers Arena. Reports suggest Silovs will get the nod, although Tocchet made a point of noting that DeSmith had a good Monday rehabbing the lower body injury that kept him from playing on Sunday. Without revealing much, Tocchet also added that if DeSmith didn’t start tonight, he should be healthy enough to serve as the backup.
The goaltending appears to be the only lineup mystery for the Canucks who will use the same 12 forwards and six defencemen that they did in the two wins in Nashville. Vasily Podkolzin has not seen any game action in these playoffs and Tocchet mentioned that the young Russian would likely be sent back to Abbotsford to help the AHL Canucks as they open the second round of their Calder Cup playoffs.
Elias Lindholm’s second goal of the playoffs was the winner 62 seconds into overtime on Sunday giving the Canucks a 4-3 OT victory. The veteran Swede struggled to produce offence after his acquisition from Calgary with 6+6=12 in 26 regular season games. However, Lindholm now has 2+1=3 in four games in this series.
Brock Boeser had the Canucks first playoff hat trick in nearly 30 years on Sunday. He has scored in back to back games and leads this series with four goals. JT Miller set up all three of Boeser’s goals and had a hand in five of the six goals the Canucks scored in Nashville.
Through four games in this series, Nashville has outshot Vancouver 100-72 while the Canucks hold a slim 11-10 edge in goals. At 5-on-5, the Canucks have generated just three goals in the last three games – and only two of them by forwards: Boeser’s game opener on Sunday and Lindholm’s dagger.
The Predators will battle to force this series back to Music City. They were 4-1 winners in Game 2 at Rogers Arena. Filip Forsberg scored his second goal of the playoffs on Sunday and leads Nashville with 2+2=4 in the series.He is the only Predators player to score more than once in these playoffs.
Despite leading all skaters in this series and averaging 25:49 of ice per game, Roman Josi has been limited to two assists and six shots. In the regular season, the Preds captain led all NHL defencemen with 23 goals and 268 shots on goal.
Juuse Saros is 1-3 in the series so far with a 2.52 GAA and an. 859 save percentage – the lowest among any goalie to appear in at least two games in the 2024 playoffs.
The Preds are one for 15 (6.7%) on the power play in this series with Ryan O’Reilly scoring his lone goal so far coming with the team’s first man-advantage of the series in Game 1. Since then, Nashville has come up empty on 14 consecutive power plays.
If necessary, Game 6 would be played on Friday in Nashville.
Series so far:
Game 1: 4-2 Vancouver
Game 2: 4-1 Nashville
Game 3: 2-1 Vancouver 
Game 4: 4-3 OT Vancouver
Today’s referees: Graham Skilliter and Francis Charron (Peter MacDougall is the standby official)

What we heard

Rick Tocchet when asked to name his starting goalie for tonight: “Game time. I usually tell you guys, but this playoff stuff I was told it’s game time.”
Tocchet on his team initiating contact rather than taking punishment: “Tonight, you’ve got to go into the body to get the puck. These are the types of games where I really need players to listen. We need to have an attitude because Nashville isn’t going to change. They’re going to come at us. If we don’t come up with loose pucks it doesn’t matter what system we have.”
Quinn Hughes on being a target for the Predators pressure: “They’re doing their job, they play hard. That’s why they’re here. They’re a good team. I feel really good. I feel excited for tonight and for the opportunity. The first two games I didn’t get hit and I felt like I played really well. Obviously a little bit of a different story in Games 3 and 4. Game 3 we had 12 shots on net and defended the whole game. And Game 4 it was kind of a similar game where they were taking it to us. If we can play a little bit better, those things will be limited.”
JT Miller on not wanting to go back to Nashville: “It’s just worrying about us and worrying about Canucks hockey and we can evaluate as the game goes on. It’s kind of dangerous for our team to get caught up in ‘we must win so we don’t go back’ mindset. We’re just worrying about having a good start, dictating play and we’re excited to be back in front of the home fans.”
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