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Silovs thankful for 'great opportunity' following playoff breakthrough

Derek Cain / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It's been quite the eventful month for Arturs Silovs, and the Vancouver Canucks' rookie goaltender had the time to process his breakthrough playoff performance during Thursday's end-of-season media availability.

"It was a great opportunity for me, just going from a (third-string) goalie (to) getting all the games after Game 3," the netminder said. "It was phenomenal getting all the experience."

He added: "I tried to do my best every single time I was in the crease to help the team win. It's an exciting time to play, everyone wants to win, everyone's desperate to win, so you have to give everything."

The Canucks were forced to turn to the youngster in the fourth contest of their first-round series against the Nashville Predators because of injuries to starter Thatcher Demko and usual backup Casey DeSmith. Before that appearance, Silovs had nine games of NHL experience.

He made 27 saves on 30 shots in his playoff debut to help Vancouver take a 3-1 series stranglehold, and the crease belonged to him for the remainder of his team's time in the postseason.

Silovs (and his iconic dress shirt) established himself as a fan favorite on the run. He posted an .898 save percentage and 2.91 goals against average across 10 games, recording five wins - including a series-clinching shutout against the Predators - before the Canucks were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the second round Monday.

The 23-year-old performed admirably during Vancouver's season-ending loss, turning aside 26 out of 29 shots.

Despite the Canucks' early exit, Silovs acknowledged that "it feels great" to prove he can step up in big moments.

"I was proving to myself that I can play here, I can make key saves to help the team to win," he said.

DeSmith is a pending unrestricted free agent, so the door is open for Silovs to take over as Demko's regular backup.

Silovs said he's looking forward to working with the Vezina Trophy finalist next season.

"I think it'll work good," Silovs said. "(Demko's) an experienced goalie. For me, I can learn a lot from him and try my best to show I can be the second guy to help the team."

First, though, Silovs needs a new contract as a pending restricted free agent. He's projected to sign a one-year pact worth $775,000, per Evolving-Hockey.

The Canucks selected the Latvian in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

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