Edmonton Oilers shut down by Thatcher Demko in regular season finale

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.

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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.

Read more: NHL playoff schedule out, Oilers to start against Winnipeg Jets in Edmonton

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.”

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Read more: Edmonton Oilers score 2nd-straight OT win over Habs in Montreal

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.

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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.

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