Scenes from practice: Demko ready to return vs Flames; Canucks scoreboard watching on Monday night

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
12 days ago
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Thatcher Demko will start on Tuesday against Calgary. The Canucks star netminder confirmed he was ready to return to game action after practice on Monday. And head coach Rick Tocchet revealed that Demko would, indeed, get the net when the Flames come calling.
That was the big news from Rogers Arena as the team returned to the ice following a full day off on Sunday.
The Canucks had three goalies at practice and will have to activate Demko from the long-term injured list before he plays on Tuesday. That will force the club to end Arturs Silovs’ emergency recall. The organization will have a decision to make about what to do with Silovs who could be returned to Abbotsford for the AHL playoffs or he could stay with the big club on an ordinary recall. Tocchet said today he’d like to have three goalies with the NHL team to ease the off-day burden on Demko in the playoffs. However, the Canucks have a practice goalie available that they’ve used throughout the season. Also, the deeper teams go in playoff series the less they are likely to practice with travel between games. Tocchet said it was a decision that was above his pay grade but conceded there is a decision to be made on what’s best for both Silvos and the organization.

What we saw

The Canucks went with the same line combinations and defensive pairings they deployed in Saturday’s 3-1 win in Edmonton. 
Tocchet had his team on the ice for about 45 minutes on Monday. The Canucks ran through a series of two-on-one drills early in practice before getting down to business and doing line rush drills.
The Canucks will be keeping a close eye on the out of town scoreboard tonight as San Jose visits Edmonton, Nashville plays in Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Kings are home to Minnesota.
If the Sharks somehow surprise the OIlers, the Canucks can clinch the Pacific Division title. Edmonton needs to win its way out with three games remaining and can’t afford to surrender a single standings point to keep the pressure on the Canucks.
If Nashville earns a single point against a motivated Penguins team still fighting to keep its playoff hopes alive, the Preds will lock up the first wild card slot in the conference. However, if Nashville is unable to add to its point total in its regular season finale, the Predators will finish with 99 points for the season.
Los Angeles starts the night third in the Pacific with 97 points. The Kings are a single point up on the idle Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams have two games remaining and both can pass Nashville if the Predators don’t collect a point tonight.
As for tie-breakers, Nashville has 38 regulation wins, Los Angeles has 37 and Vegas has 33.

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on his plans for Thatcher Demko on Tuesday versus Calgary: ‘I have to think about it for a while. (Pauses). Alright, he’s playing. He’s healthy, he’s ready to go. He’s definitely going to play tomorrow and we’ll go from there. He’s looked really good in practice. It’s a big game for us and that’s how we approach it.”
Tocchet on keeping players focussed with just two games to go before the start of the playoffs: “I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve talked to some guys, and they just want the playoffs to start. But this is all part of maturity, and you’ve got to deal with some of these things. It’s a business-like game for us tomorrow. That’s the way you’ve got to approach it and you’ve got to continue with the good habits and that’s what it comes down to.”
Thatcher Demko on key to staying game ready as he rehabbed from March 9th knee injury: “Having attention to detail, staying engaged and going through some old videos to stay sharp mentally. Obviously it will be a big game for me tomorrow and a good opportunity. I want to check some boxes here in the last week before Game 1.”
Demko on what he was trying to key on in final practice before his return to game action: “Pace, obviously. You’ve got ten guys skating in front of you as pucks are coming in. It’s a little bit different than practice. You know, just getting your visuals back and dialled in and obviously pace is the big one.”
Quinn Hughes on team getting a boost with return of its All Star netminder: “I’ve got a massive appreciation for him and that’s why he’s one of the best in the world. He takes his game very seriously and game days I don’t even talk to him. I just kind of leave him alone. He might steal a game 4-1 but he’ll be mad at himself for the one goal he let in. But he makes some saves he shouldn’t be able to make.”
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