The Vancouver Canucks can advance to the NHL’s Western Conference final with a win in Game 7 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.
The Canucks have come back from a series 3-1 series deficit, thanks in large part to goaltender Thatcher Demko, who stopped all 48 shots to lead the team to a 4-0 win on Thursday.
It was just Demko’s second playoff start, two days after he turned aside 42 shots to preserve a 2-1 victory in Game 5.
“Thatcher’s been our MVP both nights,” said Vancouver forward Jake Virtanen.
“He’s standing on his head back there and he’s making some amazing saves, keeping us in games. You can see the confidence he has back there. He’s just calm and collected, playing his game.”
Virtanen opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game.
J.T. Miller and defenceman Quinn Hughes each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver.
Captain Bo Horvat scored into an empty net for his playoff-leading 10th goal.
The Golden Knights outshot the Canucks 48-23 with Demko proving to be the difference.
Half the current Canuck players are in their first NHL playoffs, so Friday’s Game 7 will be uncharted territory for many of the team’s young stars.
“As a kid, no one really talks about Game 1 or Game 2. I think everyone dreams of Game 7,” Hughes said.
“To give ourselves a chance after being down 3-1, I think we’re proud of ourselves (but) we’re not satisfied.”
Friday’s Game 7 will start at 6 p.m. PT.
— With files from The Canadian Press