And just like that, the Vancouver Canucks only have one more home game this season.
Despite being eliminated from the playoffs during Tuesday’s 5-2 win against Seattle, the team will still need to prepare for one more outing at Rogers Arena on Thursday, facing off against the Los Angeles Kings on Fan Appreciation Night.
With their postseason aspirations officially extinguished, the Canucks will just be looking to end of the regular season on a good note, while also hopefully getting a few more strong performances from some of their key players.
The team took to the ice on Thursday morning for an optional skate, giving fans and media a glimpse of what to expect for their contest against the Kings.
Similar to Tuesday night’s contest, it appears that the Canucks will once again be without Will Lockwood who, according to head coach Bruce Boudreau, was a little “banged up” following their games against Minnesota and Ottawa.
Lockwood will join a long list of injured Canucks, including Bo Horvat, Tanner Pearson, Nils Höglander and Tucker Poolman, all of whom will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Halak suffered a hand injury during last week’s contest against Ottawa, forcing Demko to step up in relief. The 26-year-old starting netminder then did not suit up for Tuesday’s night contest due to an undisclosed injury of his own.
Initially, Demko was just listed as day-to-day but, given the team’s remaining schedule and position in the standings, has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season.
As a result, the Canucks were forced to call up Spencer Martin and Arturs Silovs from the AHL under emergency conditions.
Martin, who stopped 30 of 32 shots faced on Tuesday, will once again get the nod on Thursday, meaning that Boudreau will likely turn to Silovs for their final regular season game in Edmonton on Friday night.
As is the case every year, the organization will also present seven different awards to the players throughout Thursday evening’s game, four of which are voted on by the fans: the Fred J. Hume Award for “Unsung Hero”, the Pavel Bure Award for “Most Exciting Player”, the Cyclone Taylor Trophy for “Most Valuable Player” and the Walter (Babe) Pratt Trophy for “Best Defenceman”.
It is expected that Quinn Hughes will walk away with the Best Defenceman Award for the third straight year, but the other three awards are still somewhat of a mystery.
Both Demko and J.T. Miller are neck-and-neck in the MVP race, while Pearson and Luke Schenn have both garnered solid consideration for the team’s unsung hero. To no one’s surprise, Miller and Demko are also in the running for “Most Exciting Player’, but could very well be challenged by the quick and shifty Conor Garland.
The Canucks will also don the black skate jersey one final time, which should give the fans (and maybe even Vasily Podkolzin) something to cheer about, regardless of the score or the awards.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts heading into the final home game of the season? Let us know in the comments!