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Canucks making history with 3-headed goalie monster

Only the 2nd time an NHL team has ever had 3 goalies win games in the same series
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Casey DeSmith (29) blocks a shot on goal by Nashville Predators center Ryan O’Reilly (90) during the third period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Friday, April 26, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. The Canucks won 2-1. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Injuries have forced the Vancouver Canucks to change goalies now for a third time in their first four playoff games.

Thanks to Casey DeSmith and now Arturs Silovs winning the first postseason games of their careers, the Canucks are making history and are one victory away from the next round.

Silovs made 27 saves in his NHL playoff debut Sunday as Vancouver rallied and staggered Nashville with a 4-3 overtime victory.

A sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, Silovs said he had a little bit of a blackout at the final horn and didn’t know who hugged him first. But with All-Star Thatcher Demko and then DeSmith both sidelined by injuries, Silovs learned Saturday he would be starting.

“It was great. My time to shine,” Silovs said.

The Canucks became only the second team in NHL history to have three different goalies win each of their first three games in a postseason. Vancouver also did it during the 2004 Western quarterfinals with Dan Cloutier in Game 1, Johan Hedberg in Game 3 and Alex Auld in Game 6.

Chicago in the 1972 quarterfinals was the only other team in NHL history with three different goalies to win a game at any point in a series. Tony Esposito won Game 1, Gary Smith took Game 3 and Gerry Desjardins was in net for Game 4.

The Canucks started Demko in a Game 1 win in the All-Star goalie’s third game back from a knee injury that sidelined him March 9. Coach Rick Tocchet announced Demko is week-to-week with an unspecified injury.

That’s when DeSmith started both Games 2 and 3, and he got his first postseason victory Friday night. DeSmith was leveled by a hit from Predators forward Michael McCarron behind the net, which earned McCarron a $2,000 fine from the NHL on Saturday. DeSmith was seen at practice Saturday.

Tocchet said DeSmith is dealing with an injury. Asked who will start in net Tuesday night for Game 5 with Vancouver having a chance to clinch a series on home ice for the first time since the 2011 Western Conference final, Tocchet said they would evaluate DeSmith’s status Monday.

“It’s next man up, so I think that’s the approach and we’ll see how it shakes out,” Tocchet said.

A native of Riga, Latvia, Silovs is 6-2-1 with a 2.62 goals against average and an .898 save percentage in the regular season. He leaned on his experience playing for Latvia in the world championships in this game.

“It was like the same atmosphere, I would say,” Silovs said. “Either they boo you or they’re for you. It’s always great to play.”

Tocchet didn’t think Silovs looked nervous, even before the game when the goalie wasn’t saying much.

“I don’t think the moment’s too big for him,” Tocchet said. “I like his demeanor. I think watching Casey and watching Demmer is something that he’s watched the last couple of years for help.”

READ ALSO: Rookie goalie Arturs Silovs takes over Canucks net for Game 4: reports

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