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

Rookie goalie Arturs Silovs takes over Vancouver Canucks net for Game 4: reports
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Casey DeSmith (29) warms up before the start of Game 3 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators, in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, April 26, 2024.

Rookie goalie Arturs Silovs will start in net for the Vancouver Canucks when they face the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series Sunday.

The 23-year-old Latvian led the Canucks out onto the ice for warm ups. He’ll be backed up by 24-year-old Belarusian netminder Nikita Tolopilo, who has never played an NHL game.

Silovs is the third goalie to play for the Canucks in the best-of-seven series, and has spent much of the season with Vancouver’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks.

All-star netminder Thatcher Demko backstopped Vancouver to a win in Game 1 but has been sidelined since by an undisclosed injury, and is considered week to week.

Backup Casey DeSmith took over for Games 2 and 3, going 1-1-0 in the two contests with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet declined to say at a pre-game availability whether DeSmith would start, saying only that there were some game-time decisions to be made.

What kept DeSmith out of Game 4 remains unclear.

The goalie was hit by Nashville’s Michael McCarron 12:28 into the first period in Game 3, drawing a goalie interference penalty where Vancouver scored its first goal of the night.

DeSmith did not appear to be injured on the play and finished the game. He was also a full participant in the Canucks‘ practice Saturday.

Silovs got a stretch of play with the NHL team back at the end of March and beginning of April. He went 3-0-1 with a 2.47 GAA and a .881 save percentage.

In Abbotsford, the six-foot-four, 203-pound goaltender posted a 16-11-6 record with a 2.74 GAA, a .907 save percentage and four shutouts.

Silovs is no stranger to high-pressure situations after backstopping Latvia to bronze — the country’s first medal — at the men’s hockey world championships last May. He was named MVP of the tournament.

Tolopilo — a six-foot-six, 229-pound goalie who signed with the Canucks in March 2013 — went 20-13-1 in AHL play this season, putting up a 2.83 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2024.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian PressGemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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