Thatcher Demko made 31 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Saturday afternoon at Rogers Place.
“That game was a win if nobody got hurt, and nobody got hurt, so we’re taking a win,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said. ”It was a game that had no meaning to it from our side, so we got through it fine.”
“(It) would’ve been nice to end on a high note but we’ve had a great season and now the important stuff starts. It’s nice to get that one out of the way,” Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie said.
The Oilers finish the regular season with a record of 35-19-2. It’s the seventh-best regular season in team history in terms of points percentage.
Adam Larsson had the only goal of the first period, ripping home a blast from the point. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had the assists.
Bo Horvat scored a shorthanded goal early in the second. Both goalies made several good saves in the period. Mikko Koskinen stretched out his right leg to make toe save off a rebound. Thatcher Demko made a desperate pad save on Alex Chiasson on the power play that nearly went in.
“We had a quick look at it on the bench, but we didn’t get a whistle until the end of the period, so we would’ve had to go back and play the last six minutes, but it looked like it still had a bit of the paint on it,” Barrie said of the near-goal.
“They would’ve looked at it. (The NHL) looks at all of those, it’s not something you challenge,” Tippett said. “When you look at it really close, it wasn’t in.”
Demko shone again early in third, making a glove snatch on a point blank shot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Less than four minutes later, he stopped McDavid on a breakaway.
Matthew Highmore and Travis Boyd both beat Koskinen over the glove for goals 16 seconds apart halfway through the third. Highmore added one more with 6:33 left.
Slater Koekkoek played his first game since suffering a broken collarbone on Feb. 20.
“You don’t know how much you miss that gameday routine — just that nervousness, that anxiousness to play,” Koekkoek said. “You wake up this morning and get those butterflies going — it’s just a real blessing to be out there and back in the mix.”
“That’s a guy that’s missed a long time here and he’s worked his tail off in practice to get up and going, and we’re glad to get him in a game here. Where that goes from here, we’ll see,” Tippett said.
Kailer Yamamoto, Devin Shore, and Ryan McLeod were the regulars out of action for the Oilers.
The Oilers open the playoffs Wednesday night at Rogers Place against the Winnipeg Jets.