Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment
Nucks Fan Rebuild & Retool Center - Come For The Banter - Stay For The Disappointment

Tonight there is no middle ground: It will either go down as one of the greatest victories in Canucks history, or another chapter in the tale of the most cursed franchise in hockey.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS EDMONTON OILERS (SERIES TIED 3-3)

6:00PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

RADIO: SN650 TV: ESPN, SN, CBC, TVAS

As if things weren't emotional enough heading into the deciding game of this series, the hockey gods decided once again to test the Canucks. Already without their All Star goaltender since Game Two of the first round, and with a number of their best players obviously playing hurt, the Canucks will now have to find a way to victory without their top scorer in the post-season this year.

At the same time, the health of Brock Boeser, and the possible implications of this diagnosis on his career outweigh the importance of the game. The longest serving Canuck has been through a lot in his nine years in Vancouver. Injuries, struggles with years of a sub-par roster, leading to some to say he'd been a bust after an amazing rookie season. The emotional toll of his father's passing to cancer, and the Canucks nearly trading him away all culminated in this year, where he came out and had his best season ever. That it ends like this, and could potentially be the end of his career is just so damn cruel.

We've been saying all along that this is all just gravy on a season none of us dared to dream could happen. That doesn't change. What has changed, is the desire to see the Canucks come out of this night victorious. Of course it's not going to be easy, but with a packed house at Rogers Arena, and the way the Canucks have responded to bad performances like the one in Game Six, which was their worst of the playoffs by a mile, maybe this Cinderella story isn't done just yet.

In order to pull this off, there's going to have to be some changes. One of them is getting shots on goal, as many as they can. It's infuriating that they managed a paltry 15 shots on Stuart Skinner Saturday night. Allowing him to regain some confidence is a serious failure on the Canucks part, and bringing him back down to earth and back to his sub .800 save percentage is one of the biggest keys to a Canucks victory.

Another thing the Canucks must do is score on the bloody power play. Keep it simple, and just pound the damn puck on Skinner every chance they get. Get in his sight lines and create havoc in front of the net. They've wasted so many opportunities to get the upper hand on the Oilers with the failures on the power play. Tonight, they can change that.

Despite what seems a mountain of adversity, the bulk of the pressure is still on the Oilers. One cannot imagine that the brain trust of this team can survive another post-season failure, especially in a season where they were picked by many to win it all for the first time since their last Cup in 1990. With rumours swirling about Ken Holland potentially bailing for the open GM position in Columbus, a loss for the Oilers tonight could bring about a major shakeup.

It's going to take more than the Canucks' best players being their best players tonight. To a man, the Canucks have to step up and do this. Home teams tend to win more often in Game Seven, and the team that scores first wins around 75% of the time. Get that first goal early, break Skinner's confidence and do not let up til the siren goes.

LINEUPS

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Sam Lafferty

Phil Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Nils Aman

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Noah Juulsen, Linus Karlsson, Christian Wolanin, Vasily Podkolzin

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed), Brock Boeser (undisclosed)

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Dylan Holloway -- Leon Draisaitl -- Evander Kane

Warren Foegele -- Ryan McLeod -- Derek Ryan

Mattias Janmark -- Sam Carrick -- Connor Brown

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Vincent Desharnais

Brett Kulak -- Cody Ceci

Stuart Skinner

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Corey Perry, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher

Injured: Adam Henrique (lower body)

There was some discussion that we might see Miller and Pettersson paired up in Boeser's absence and from these lineups it doesn't look as though it'll start off that way, but we'll see what happens. Tocchet has done a fantastic job of using his changes at home, and we could see a bit of a blender tonight. Mikheyev and Lafferty are back in, and that's an experience thing more than anything else I'm sure. Having had some time to rest and heal (especially in Mikheyev's case) could help. No other changes, and no changes for the Oilers.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Amen. It's been a hell of a year, and it may come to an end tonight, but we know these guys won't go down without a fight. Go Canucks Go!

The Canucks have a chance to move to the Conference Finals for just the fourth time in franchise history tonight. They'll look to build off their best game of the post-season and finish off the Oilers in Edmonton.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS EDMONTON OILERS (CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 3-2)

5:00PM PST

ROGERS PLACE, EDMONTON, AB

RADIO: SN650 TV: ESPN, SN, CBC, TVAS

After the first ten minutes of Game Five, it was starting to feel like the Canucks were going to have a hard time trying to take advantage of home ice when an Evander Kane goal put them down 1-0 in the first five minutes. They turned up the intensity though, and began to do what they've done all season: wearing down teams with relentless forechecking, timely hits and constant pressure. They were rewarded late in the period when Carson Soucy sniped a point shot past Calvin Pickard to tie the game. The Oilers would take advantage of a mistake by Soucy, leading to a 2 on 1, with Mattias Janmark scoring just 0:23 later.

Fortunately, another trait the Canucks have shown this season, was zero panic when falling behind. We've seen it throughout these playoffs, and in the second period, great work behind the net by Nils Aman saw him strip the puck off Evan "He's so much better than Quinn Hughes" Bouchard, feeding new Daddy Phil Di Giuseppe out front, who made with the Bertuzzian spin-o-rama for the tying goal.

The Canucks would continue to press, and it's only due to a strong performance from Pickard that the game would stay tied. The Oilers were being outhit, outworked, and outclassed, but they couldn't get the go-ahead goal. We prepared ourselves for what would be a nerve-wracking overtime. Fortunately, someone forgot to tell Elias Pettersson, Elias Lindholm and J.T. Miller.

With less than a minute remaining, Lindholm fired a shot towards the net, which was re-directed by Pettersson with a soccer style backheel. The puck went by Pickard, off the post and right to a waiting Miller, who buried it for the GWG. It will live on as one of best playoff goals in Canucks history, as the Canucks once again found a way to win late.

Apart from the slow start, this was the most complete game we've seen out of the Canucks in this year's playoffs. The lineup additions were impactful, as were the line changes. The Pettersson, Lindholm and Nils Hoglander line were noticeable all night, and Hoglander nearly gave the Canucks the lead in the third, but Pickard was able to get enough of Hogs' shot to steer it into the post.

Another huge factor was the penalty kill, which picked up where it left off in the third period of Game Four and kept the fearsome Oilers PP off the scoresheet, going 5/5 on kills and even getting a couple short handed chances in the process. They outhit the Oilers 41-23, and dominated the faceoff dot, winning just over 57% of the draws.

After Game Four, Head Coach Rick Tocchet complained about too many passengers, and said it would be addressed. WIth Sam Lafferty, Ilya Mikheyev and Linus Karlsson sitting, Hoglander, Di Giuseppe and Vasily Podkolzin came in and were noticeable, and it's pretty unlikely we'll see them back in the press box for Game Six.

As he has been throughout the playoffs, veteran Dman Ian Cole was just getting buried out there. Too slow, too casual, and making too many bad decisions that have led to pucks getting behind Arturs Silovs. Cole's been a valuable member of the Canucks blue line this season, and as an experienced vet and Stanley Cup winner, his voice is surely valuable. But on the ice, between bad plays and bad luck, Cole is a massive liability, and Tocchet would do well to take him out of the lineup and bring Noah Juulsen back in. For the number of minutes Juulsen would need to replace with Cole out, this isn't a huge issue.


And what about Silovs? He continues to be one of the best stories of the NHL Playoffs, battling hard to keep the Canucks in every single game, as well as keep the entire nation of Latvia up til the wee hours of the morning as they watch their hero. Thatcher Demko's inching closer and closer to his return, but how can you not give Silovs the crease tonight and give him the chance to close out against the Oilers, and give Demko a couple more days to get ready before a Western Conference Finals date with the Dallas Stars?

The biggest factor? The way the Canucks have continued to limit Connor McDavid's impact on this series. He's had just one assist in the last three games, and was on the ice for two of the three Canucks goals in Game Five. Is he hurt? Maybe. But the job that J.T. Miller and the rest of the team have done in limiting time and space is paying off. Look for them to continue this tonight.

LINEUPS

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Lindholm -- Elias Pettersson

Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland

Phil Di Giuseppe -- Nils Aman -- Vasily Podkolzin

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Noah Juulsen, Linus Karlsson, Sam Lafferty, Ilya Mikheyev, Christian Wolanin

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed)

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Dylan Holloway -- Leon Draisaitl -- Evander Kane

Warren Foegele -- Ryan McLeod -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Derek Ryan -- Connor Brown

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Vincent Desharnais

Brett Kulak -- Cody Ceci

Stuart Skinner

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Sam Carrick, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher

Injured: Adam Henrique (lower body)

As mentioned, no changes for the Canucks. Apart from Skinner, there might be one change with the Oilers. There is a player that is reportedly sick, and may be replaced at game time. We'll see how that plays out, but Adam Henrique, the Oilers' big trade deadline acquisition is definitely out tonight.

As has been the case, but nevermore so tonight: the pressure is squarely on the Edmonton Oilers, a team that was picked by many at the start of the season to win the Stanley Cup. And tonight, they (along with a TON of journalists who picked the Oilers to win this series) will be added to the list of those who underestimated the 2023-24 Vancouver Canucks.

GAME DAY CHATTER

The Canucks have been making history all season long, so why stop now?

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Haven't dragged this one out for a long time, but it feels like it was written for this game, right? A Vancouver band, with a video that I believe was filmed at the Commodore, if I'm not mistaken. From the album S.Y.L., it's STRAPPING YOUNG LAD and their killer anthem 'Relentless'.

One step away from the third round. Win or lose, this has been a hell of a run, but here's to this story being far from over. Enjoy the game, everyone. Go Canucks Go!

The loss on Tuesday was frustrating for a number of reasons, but tune out what the talking heads are telling you, the pressure remains on the Oilers here, not the Canucks.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS EDMONTON OILERS (SERIES TIED 2-2)

7:00PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

RADIO: SN650 TV: ESPN, SN, CBC, TVAS

There's always different views of a given situation, and it's up to you to figure out which one you choose to believe. On the one hand, as numerous outlets have breathlessly told us, each of these four games were either won or lost by the Edmonton Oilers. If this feels familiar, it should.

Getting credit where it's due has been probably the biggest challenge this season. Every accomplishment seems to come with an asterisk. The wins, and improved offensive play are merely the product of an extremely high PDO, and nothing more. And even with Rick Tocchet deservedly getting an Adams Trophy nomination, it's still not enough for people to admit that the Canucks are pretty good.

One of the NHL's worst defences, overhauled in mere months. New systems that helped them on their way to one of the best seasons in franchise history. All just luck in the eyes of some. And that's fine. After all, at the end of the day, the Canucks are way ahead of schedule in the retooling process, and every single playoff game is a bonus. So while there's pressure to get going, for assorted reasons, the bulk of the pressure is still, deservedly so, on the backs of the Edmonton Oilers.

This is year nine of the Connor McDavid era, and at least year three of them being considered a serious Stanley Cup contender. And through all of that, they have just one Conference Finals appearance to show for it. They have the two best players in the NHL, along with a number of elite players, and they're fortunate to have been able to tie the series at two games a piece against a team that hasn't given us a 60 minute effort once through the entire playoffs, and doing that with their third string goaltender.

They might be outshooting the Canucks, and leading in offensive zone time, but the majority of their offence is either a) on the power play, or b) on jaw droppingly fortunate bounces and deflections. Ian Cole is literally driving their offence right now, and that's not a joke.

I'm not gonna be torn up if the Canucks lose this series, but the thing is: they don't have to lose it. If they can give one frickin' complete game, where everyone shows up, they'll roll these clowns. They're absolute frauds, and the fact that the Canucks can put in 20-30 minutes a night and this series is down to a best of three proves that.

So, there has to be changes, right? Elias Pettersson simply cannot continue to be such a non-factor. There are a number of players who are just providing nothing of value for the Canucks right now, and this is being addressed in a number of changes to the lineup tonight. Ideally, the Canucks should want to end this series in Edmonton Saturday. With the Colorado Avalanche staving off elimination in Dallas last night, that series could potentially go the full seven games. A couple additional days rest and practice, especially for Thatcher Demko, is imperative. As well as Arturs Silovs has played, a healthy Demko is the key for any path forward if they can get to the Conference Finals.

So, expect the Canucks to come out pissed off tonight. They know they haven't played their best yet, and with an opportunity to put a stranglehold on the series, let their foot off the Oilers' collective throats. Time to remind them who the best team in the Pacific is tonight, eh?

LINEUPS

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Dylan Holloway -- Leon Draisaitl -- Evander Kane

Warren Foegele -- Ryan McLeod -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Derek Ryan

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Vincent Desharnais

Brett Kulak -- Cody Ceci

Philip Broberg

Calvin Pickard

Stuart Skinner

Scratched: Sam Carrick, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher, Connor Brown

Injured: Adam Henrique (lower body)

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Lindholm -- Elias Pettersson 

Dakota Joshua -- Teddy Blueger -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Nils Aman -- Vasily Podkilzin

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith
 
Scratched: Mark Friedman, Christian Wolanin, Noah Juulsen, Sam Lafferty, Ilya Mikheyev, Linus Karlsson

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed)

Okay, this is what we wanted to see. Changes needed, changes made. Pettersson with Lindholm and a rested Hoglander, the return of the Bleug Man Group (not my bit, but I will give credit to the guy if I can find the tweet), PDG back to score a goal for his new baby boy, and the playoff debut of Vasily Podkolzin.

No changes for the Oilers, at least tonight. Pickard gets shelled tonight. Book it.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Part of a wave of amazing metal bands from India, tonight's Battle Hymn is "Give 'Em Hell" from AGAINST EVIL. It's the title track from their new album on Doc Gator Records, and it's got a real nice, high energy old school feel. Crank this one loud enough that they can hear it down on Scott Road! Enjoy the game, everyone! Go Canucks Go!

We knew that trying to take down the Oilers wasn't gonna be easy, but we also didn't think the Canucks would already have to be taking on the league and national media in the process.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS EDMONTON OILERS (CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 2-1)

6:50PM PST

ROGERS PLACE, EDMONTON, AB

RADIO: SN650 TV: ESPN, SN, CBC, TVAS

We'd seen signs of it throughout the season. Various pundits and Twitterati predicting the downfall of the Canucks that would see them be able to save face on getting their preseason predictions wrong. As the season wore on, everything that was supposed to spell the end of what was easily the best story in the NHL this season, failed to do so.

The injury to Thatcher Demko earlier in the season saw Casey DeSmith and Arturs Silovs step up and hold the fort til Demko could return, only to have the situation repeat itself after Game One against Nashville. And then when DeSmith was injured, Silovs stepped in and added even more mystique to the incredible turn around of this team.

Instead of giving the Canucks credit for rebuilding their defence corps, and adding some excellent complimentary pieces, and changing the way they play, all we heard was "PDO! PDO! PDO!!!" all season long. It's not that the Canucks weren't the beneficiaries of a high PDO, but they are nowhere near as good as they've been without the improvements on team defence.

And into the playoffs, the disrespect continues. From Nashville Head Coach saying "The better team did not win" the first round series, to the barrage of analysis three games in about how it's all how the Edmonton Oilers lost Game One and Three and not how the Canucks were able to win. Even the OT win in Game Two, the Oilers had to rely on another goal from Ian Cole to get the win. I mean, where would they even be without Ian Cole's scoring? It's not that the Canucks should be having their asses kissed, but for god's sake, people can see that they're making life miserable for the Oilers, giving them few prime chances, and have vastly superior goaltending.

And then there's the officiating. It's been bad, both ways. There's no denying that. But when we see Nikita Zadorov get a $5000 fine, and Carson Soucy get suspended for a game in the same series where we've seen Darnell Nurse run Elias Pettersson headfirst into the boards, Connor McDavid highstick Quinn Hughes, Evander Kane try to kick Zadorov, as well as Warren Foegele throw a punch on Zadorov while on the bench, none of these were punished. Add in Zack Hyman crosschecking Zadorov on THE SAME BLOODY PLAY that saw Soucy suspended, and actually causing more damage than the ones the Canucks got punished for? This is why we are the way we are. This is the shit that Roger Nielson raised that towel for.

I've said it already and I'll say it again. Keep disrespecting them. Keep underestimating them. This team doesn't quit, and will continue to find ways to win. Wanna suspend Soucy? That's nice. This team has been rolling on a 'Next Man Up' mentality all season long.

In the last game, there was a lot of stuff to be positive about. They came out and had a fantastic first period, especially after giving up that early power play goal, replying with one of their own. With two goals from Brock Boeser and Elias Lindholm, they did a great job of taking the crowd out of it for a good chunk of the game.

The third period was nerve wracking, but there was more to that period than a barrage of Oilers shots. The Canucks did a great job keeping the Oilers on the perimeter, withstanding the Oilers storm and coming up with two massive penalty kills in that final frame.

They're doing a lot of things right, and will again need to stay out of the box if they hope to head back to Vancouver on Thursday for a potential elimination game. The power play has been better, but they're going to need more from some of the guys who have been quiet, and maybe another game with Linus Karlsson, who was solid in Game Three, can get Elias Pettersson out of his funk.

The Oilers, meanwhile will need to get more out of anyone not named McDavid, Draisaitl, Hyman, Ekholm or Bouchard. Their depth scoring has been non-existent, and trying again to get 30 minutes a night out of McDavid and Draisaitl, especially when they're not getting the goaltending they need, is a recipe for failure. They've got their hopes pinned on a 32 year old journeyman goaltender who has less pro playoff starts than Arturs Silovs.

LINEUPS

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Ilya Mikheyev -- Elias Pettersson -- Linus Karlsson

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Nils Aman -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Noah Juulsen

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Phil Di Giuseppe, Christian Wolanin

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed), Nils Hoglander (undisclosed)

Suspended: Carson Soucy

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Dylan Holloway -- Leon Draisaitl -- Evander Kane

Warren Foegele -- Ryan McLeod -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Derek Ryan

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Vincent Desharnais

Brett Kulak -- Cody Ceci

Philip Broberg

Calvin Pickard

Stuart Skinner

Scratched: Connor Brown, Sam Carrick, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher

Injured: Adam Henrique (lower body)

Lots to digest here, with both teams making some tweaks. As expected, Noah Juulsen will step in for Carson Soucy. That's gonna allow Ian Cole to play his normal side and could see the Oilers secondary scoring dry up. Juulsen was quite good on the PK this year, so we'll see how that comes into play tonight. PDG is still back in Vancouver on personal leave, and it's interesting to see Nils Hoglander listed as injured. It's not something we've seen discussed up til now, so we'll have to see what comes out about that. It's worth noting that in the series between Abbotsford and Bakersfield last season, which saw Silovs and Pickard go head to head, Hoglander had 2 goals and 2 assists.

The Oilers are in desperation mode, as you can tell by splitting McDavid and Draisaitl, as well as bringing in a 7th defenceman. And if you thought Nurse and Ceci were bad, if I were a Canucks forward, I'd be licking my chops at the prospect of facing Phillip Broberg on a shift.

GAME DAY CHATTER

If you didn't get a chance yesterday, Sekeres & Price had the OG himself, Tony Gallagher on and it is an absolute must listen, as well as their response to that Mark Spector garbage from earlier in the week.

This absolutely reeks of desperation, along with switching to Calvin Pickard. Start firing pucks on Pickard from puck drop and let that seed of doubt grow.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Going with some old school Van City Crossover today. I was scouring YT when I stumbled across this gem, haven't heard it for at least 20 years. From 1988, this is 'Fight Back' from Vancouver's own ADVERSITY. Canucks vs The World, baby! Enjoy the game, everyone! Go Canucks Go!!!

Western Conference Second Round, Game 3

Best-of-7 series tied 1-1 

9:30 p.m. TVAS, SN, SN1, TBS, truTV, MAX

After losing in O/T, the Canucks need to take a breath and get ready for a loud Edmonton area and find a way to slow McDavid down.

Am I disappointed that the Canucks lost in O/T? Of course. Before the series started, would I have taken a1-1 series after 2 games, hell yeah. McDavid and Draisaitl have 238 point between them in the regular season and lead point-getters in the playoffs. There are no easy series at this point and the Canucks are going to have to find ways to make less mistakes...eh em...Ian Cole. Talk about a guy with bad ju-ju. The Oilers are skating and shooting right him every chance they get. Tyler Myers didn't have the best game on Friday either, as the Oilers have several players that have the wheels to get around him on the outside. He has an injury that has slowed him down....even more.

One area I wish Taco would address, is the the defense collapsing to far inside their own blueline on rushes. They need to force the issue faster and let the forwards come back and pick pockets. While the Canucks had a distinct advantage with hits, a lot of the hits didn't help the Canucks get the puck back. Taco wants his team to hold the puck more, to control more of the play and get better shots. Going into Edmonton, without the last change, Canuck players are going to have to adjust to be out there against McDavid and Draisaitl and keep them to the outside.

Taco was asked about the Lotto line and it seemed that he wasn't impressed. As a coach, he always stresses the defensive end to create offence and so he doesn't like those three together in their own end. He also said that forward changes might be coming and mentioned Hogs, who could be replaced by Karlsson. I would love to see Podz out there hitting people, but instead PDG is the second guy who could be out and Aman is in.

The talk on the Tweet-tweet continues to be about the officiating in the last game. Move on internet. The Canucks had enough chances to score and the tying goal only happened because of the keystone cops routine at the Oilers blueline. Did the refs get all the calls and on calls right...fuck no, but the Canucks had chances to add goals and blew it.

Shout out to the moms reading this...Hi Mom.

Quinn seems all business today in the scrum and he scarred face is probably the least painful part of his body as the Oilers continue to finish their checks on him.

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Linus Karlsson -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Nils Aman -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Phil Di Giuseppe, Noah Juulsen, Christian Wolanin

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed), Nils Hoglander (undisclosed)

Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Warren Foegele -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Evander Kane

Dylan Holloway -- Ryan McLeod -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Derek Ryan -- Connor Brown

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Cody Ceci

Brett Kulak -- Vincent Desharnais

Stuart Skinner

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Sam Carrick, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher

Injured: Adam Henrique (lower body)

Status report 

Karlsson may replace Hoglander, but Tocchet said a decision has not been made. ... Aman replaces Di Giuseppe on the fourth line. ... Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said how much time Draisaitl and McDavid play together on the same line again in Game 3 will depend on what the Canucks do with their lines. ... Brown is in for Henrique, a forward who played Game 2 after missing the opener. - NHL.COM

Game Day Battle Hymn

Game 3...getting a game in Edmonton would be awesome. The Oilers under McDavid have a history of choking and they rattling them tonight would be a great step to the paramedics practicing their Heimlichs for the Oilers. Time for the Canucks to coming firing.

Go Canucks Go!

Another comeback win as the boys in blue & green blew the roof off Rogers Arena Wednesday night. Can they build on a dominant performance and head off to Edmonton with a 2-0 series lead?

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS EDMONTON OILERS (CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 1-0)

7:00PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

RADIO: SN650 TV: TNT, truTV, MAX, SN, SN360, CBC, TVAS

For every talking head that spent their time complaining how boring the first round series between the Canucks and Nashville was, the feeling that this was somehow the Canucks fault was blown out of the water with that game on Wednesday night. And while Nashville's head coach is probably still whining that 'the better team didn't win' that series, the Canucks gave the Oilers, and the hockey world a refresher course on what this team was built for.

And half way through the 2nd period, when Edmonton stretched their lead to 4-1, if you weren't watching the game, it would be natural to assume that the Oilers that ran roughshod through the NHL after the hiring of Kris Knoblauch were simply doing to the Canucks what they did to the LA Kings in round one. If you were watching the game however, you'd have seen that the Oilers were extremely fortunate to be up at all, let alone by three goals.

And sure, there was an element of the Oilers sitting back a bit, but any attempts to push forward were being met by one of the better defensive performances this year by the Canucks, most notably by the jaw dropping stat of Connor McDavid being held shotless in the playoffs for the first time in his career. Throw in a now obviously injured Leon Draisaitl, and the way the Canucks absolutely abused the defence pairing of Cody Ceci and Darnell Nurse, and it would appear rumours of the Canucks imminent demise were indeed unfounded.

A lot has been said about how the Canucks are underdogs here. That the Oilers, vastly more experienced and talented, will continue on their roll towards a Cup berth. The Canucks meanwhile, as they've done all season long, refuse to buy into these narratives, and have continued making their doubters look foolish.

So with a healthy three goal lead, Arturs Silovs shut the door, the Canucks held the Oilers shotless for over 22 minutes, and the Canucks showed the hockey world they can still be dominant at 5 on 5, and the acquisitions of Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov became even larger. Big Z has been an absolute force in the post-season for the Canucks, with another goal and solid defensive play. And Lindholm. along with linemates Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland were a threat all night, in addition to an outstanding performance in their own end.

The key here is more of the same. While the majority of pundits said that the Canucks domination of the Oilers during the regular season meant nothing, that the playoffs were a different beast and the Oilers a different team now. Wednesday showed that to be untrue, as the Canucks, sticking to the gameplan that they've used all season, and got the same result in the end. This team was built to neutralize teams like McDavid, Draisaitl and the Oilers, and if they can continue to keep Edmonton's fearsome power play off the ice, they'll be just fine. Unless of course, something happens that drastically alters things tonight...

Oh, boy. I'd say we should expect at least 5 Oilers PPs tonight. This is gonna be a tough one.

LINEUPS

Oilers projected lineup

Warren Foegele -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Leon Draisaitl -- Evander Kane

Dylan Holloway -- Ryan McLeod -- Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark -- Derek Ryan -- Connor Brown

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Cody Ceci

Brett Kulak -- Vincent Desharnais

Stuart Skinner

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Philip Broberg, Jack Campbell, Sam Carrick, Ryan Fanti, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher

Injured: Adam Henrique (undisclosed)

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole 

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Vasily Podkolzin, Nikita Tolopilo

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed) 

So it's a game time decision, but all signs point to Draisaitl trying to play through whatever it is that's ailing him. Doesn't appear to be any other changes though we could see Sam Carrick fill in for Draisaitl if he can't go. No changes for the Canucks, and below we've got the list of Black Ace callups from the Abbotsford Canucks since they were eliminated from the AHL Playoffs Wednesday night.

GAME DAY CHATTER

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Sometimes, metal gets a bad rap for being obsessed with the darker sides of existence, and to be fair, so much of the music lends itself to that. For me, it's a way to get the anger and frustration out of my system, but sometimes there's metal tracks that are just so wholesome and good you wanna share them. TEXAS TOAST CHAINSAW MASSACRE are a thrash band from Chicago who have a new album coming June 28th that you can get for free on their Bandcamp page! This is now my favourite song of all time, and it goes out to all the good boys and girls out there. This is 'I Wanna Pet Your Dog'. Crank it, take your dog for a nice pregame walk and then enjoy the game, everyone! Go Canucks Go!

We all knew this series was coming and now we get to see how the Canucks do against a very good Oilers team.

It is hard to express the relief I felt after game 6 in Nashville. Even after the Canucks season and their ability to bounce back from losses, I had doubts that playoff Canucks could do the same thing. The Canucks were able to survive goaltending fuckery and a Nashville team that hit everything that moved on the ice.

I would like to say that my doubts are all but gone, but that would be a big fat lie. All that hard work in round one, just to get to round two and an Oilers team that was favored by some NHL writers to win a cup this year. The Oilers have speed, skill and a hunger after getting knocked out of the playoffs several years in a row. The Canucks have confidence they can compete with a team they beat 4 times this year. Vegas oddsmakers do not share that confidence. The Canucks need Petey to wake up....they need Miller to distract...they need Joshua to hit and the team should not take stupid penalties. Sounds easy.

The time for words is done. This series is the true test for the Canucks and hopefully it's great hockey.

Game Day Battle Hymn

Do we really need a song to get hyped up for this series? Someone said yes...fine. A step away from the usual metal song leads to this. The Canucks need to play with some craziness against the Coilers, to throw Edmonton off their game.

Go Canucks Go!

After blowing an opportunity to close out at home, the Canucks are back in Nashville, with a second opportunity to move forward with a win over the Preds this afternoon.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS NASHVILLE PREDATORS (CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 3-2)

4:00PM PST

BRIDGESTONE ARENA, NASHVILLE, TN

RADIO: SN650 TV: MAX, truTV, TNT, BSSO, SN, TVAS, CBC

It's perfectly fine to be frustrated with the Game 5 loss. It was a missed opportunity, as well as a chance to get a bit of rest before taking on the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division Final aka Round 2. That being said, the Canucks are still in the drivers seat, and if there's something that should keep everyone hopeful for today's game, it's that they've yet to play their best hockey of the post-season.

That's not to imply in any way that this will be easy. The Preds are going to come out hard from the drop of the puck, and much like they did in Game 3, the Canucks will need to weather the storm. Then again, it probably wouldn't surprise me to see the Canucks come storming out themselves. You have to know they're not happy they let the last game get away, and nothing would be more pleasing than taking the crowd out of it early.

The list of players who need to step up is far larger than those who have shone in this series, and they're going to need some help from the supporting cast to bring this across the finish line. And in the name all that is right and good, whatever Ilya Mikheyev has done to anger the hockey gods, please, I implore you, release him from your cruel grip. The poor bastard, and this fan base have suffered enough.

At the end of the day, the Canucks just need to get back to playing the systems that saw them shock the NHL this season. They've beaten better teams than Nashville, and are in this situation because the Preds goalie has stolen two games for them. That ends tonight.

LINEUPS

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Vasily Podkolzin, Nikita Tolopilo

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed)

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Gustav Nyquist

Anthony Beauvillier -- Colton Sissons -- Jason Zucker

Mark Jankowski -- Tommy Novak -- Luke Evangelista

Cole Smith -- Michael McCarron -- Kiefer Sherwood

Roman Josi -- Dante Fabbro

Ryan McDonagh -- Tyson Barrie

Jeremy Lauzon -- Alexandre Carrier

Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Scratched: Luke Schenn, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Cody Glass, Gustavs Grigals, Juuso Parssinen, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Spencer Stastney (upper body)

No changes either way, it would seem. If there is to be changes, both coaches are keeping their cards close to the vest. I wouldn't be surprised to see the lines get put in a blender a bit, especially to get guys like Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller going.

GAME DAY CHATTER

Silovs has played well, and earned the start. It's not a knock on DeSmith, but in a way, Silovs is more experienced in big games given his run for Latvia at the World Championships last spring.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

This band Killer Kin, and they hail from Connecticut. I love the old school vibe of this video, as well as the nods to Motorhead and Zeke in their sound. Filthy, grimy rock n roll the way it should be, baby! Crank up 'Point Blank' and get psyched for Game 6!!!

With three minutes to go in Game Four, it looked like the Canucks were headed back to Vancouver with the series tied. What no one counted on, was Brock Boeser unleashing hell in Nashville, scoring twice with Arturs Silovs on the bench to force OT. After that, they needed just a minute more for Elias Lindholm to seal the deal and push the Preds to the brink of elimination.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS NASHVILLE PREDATORS (CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 3-1)

7:00PM PST

ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC

RADIO: SN650 TV: TVAS2, TBS, MAX, SN, BSSO

After the way the Canucks performed in Game Two, it certainly didn't feel like we'd be heading for an elimination game tonight. But after gutsy wins in Games Three and Four, they find themselves in the position to punch their ticket to the second round tonight with a win over Nashville. Given their health situation through four hard hitting games, getting a few days to rest and heal definitely sounds like something to take advantage of.

You can say that the Canucks didn't deserve to win on Sunday afternoon, but it was Nashville who took their foot off the gas in the dying minutes of the third, setting up one of the greatest Canucks playoff victories in franchise history. And how fitting that it was Brock Boeser, the Canucks' longest serving player, that put the team on his back and tied the game twice with the goalie pulled. This guy has been here through some of the darkest days, and by god, he may just may lead them to a shot at the Stanley Cup.

And how about the performance of Arturs Silovs? The Canucks turned to their third stringer, desperate when Casey DeSmith was unable to go, and the Hero of the great nation of Latvia said, "I stopped America, and I will stop Nashville, too!"

Combined with another strong defensive effort, the Canucks worked to give Silovs the opportunity to see pucks, clearing the net front and rebounds efficiently. They also put in another stellar night of penalty killing, as once again, the Canucks were forced to kill off some ticky-tack calls while Nashville seemed to commit fouls with impunity.

Instead of wondering if they were going to suffer a disappointing first round loss, the Canucks, much like their shocking regular season, are becoming the story of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It would have been easy to write them off given the loss of Demko, let alone DeSmith, but this team has a vibe so reminiscent of the 1994 Canucks team that battled back from being down 3-1 to Calgary to win that series, then take out the favoured Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs before coming within a goal of winning it all in Game Seven to he who shall not be named.

They have talent, speed, skill, strength, and seem to relish in proving people wrong. It may be one series, and it's a long road to go, but this team is making believers out of people by finding ways to win even when it seems they shouldn't. You know, the way really good teams do. I know for some who cover the game, it's gotta be tough admitting you've continued to be wrong about this team. And we enjoy watching your discomfort, trust me.

The beauty of Silovs' performance on Sunday, is that he's given them the option of going with him again in Game Five, rather than pushing DeSmith back if he's not quite ready. It's this kind of depth that's been missing from this team for the longest time, paying dividends when it truly matters. And early reports are that Silovs will indeed get the start tonight. Maybe. Both teams are playing it close to the vest in terms of changes tonight.

If there's one thing to be encouraged about heading into this game, it's that the Canucks have played far from what could be considered their best hockey. They've had a team play them tough, and despite all the challenges, still found a way to come out on top. They will need everyone on board for tonight, as the further you go, the the more costly passengers along for the ride can be.

LINEUPS

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Gustav Nyquist

Anthony Beauvillier -- Colton Sissons -- Jason Zucker

Mark Jankowski -- Tommy Novak -- Luke Evangelista

Cole Smith -- Michael McCarron -- Kiefer Sherwood

Roman Josi -- Dante Fabbro

Ryan McDonagh -- Luke Schenn

Jeremy Lauzon -- Alexandre Carrier

Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Scratched: Tyson Barrie, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Cody Glass, Gustavs Grigals, Juuso Parssinen

Injured: Spencer Stastney (upper body)

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Arturs Silovs

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Vasily Podkolzin, Nikita Tolopilo

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed)

GAME DAY CHATTER

If you haven't seen it yet, Chris Higgins' new feature 'All In The Details' is fantastic.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Swiss moshmonsters INSANITY ALERT have a new video for the title track to their new EP, a beautiful pisstake on a QUEEN classic. Enjoy 'Moshemian Thrashody' as you get pumped up for tonight!

Enjoy the game, everyone! Go Canucks Go!

Game 3 saw the Canucks get big games from their big names, a huge performance from Casey DeSmith, and gave Nashville a heapin' helpin' of their own medicine.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS NASHVILLE PREDATORS (CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 2-1)

2:00PM PST

BRIDGESTONE ARENA, NASHVILLE, TN

RADIO: SN650 TV: TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, TVAS, BSSO

It wasn't a masterpiece, by any stretch of the imagination, but playoff runs are sometimes about finding ways to win. And full credit to Rick Tocchet and his staff for making adjustments after a frustrating loss in Game 2, The Canucks were able to work through Nashville's defensive strategy, give Casey DeSmith the support he needed. A lot of the shots DeSmith faced were from the perimeter, and when he did face high danger opportunities, the defence were there to deal with rebounds.

Probably the biggest factor in the Game 3 victory was the arrival of the long lost Canucks PP that at one point in the season, put the fear of God into teams. J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser were outstanding, and we saw positive signs from not only Elias Pettersson, but sparks of life from Nils Hoglander and Ilya Mikheyev. The lasting impact of this win though, was the mental aspect. When the Predators know that taking penalties = a puck in the back of their net, it could make them a little hesitant to continue going for those big hits. That can open up a bit of space, and allow the Canucks to use their speed.

At the end of the day though, they're still going to need DeSmith to stand tall in the crease today if they hope to return to Vancouver on Tuesday with a 3-1 series lead. Winning the special teams battle is becoming a huge factor so far, and if they can continue to have success on the power play, as well as keep their phenomenal penalty killing so far going, it will pay off.

LINEUPS

Scrawled in sharpie on a chair thrown off the roof of a Nashville nightclub, it's today's potential lineups. though I heard you can find this on nhll dot com, too.

Canucks projected lineup

Pius Suter -- J.T. Miller -- Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander -- Elias Pettersson -- Ilya Mikheyev

Dakota Joshua -- Elias Lindholm -- Conor Garland

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Teddy Blueger -- Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Filip Hronek

Carson Soucy -- Tyler Myers

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Casey DeSmith

Arturs Silovs

Scratched: Mark Friedman, Nils Aman, Noah Juulsen, Vasily Podkolzin, Nikita Tolopilo

Injured: Thatcher Demko (undisclosed)

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Gustav Nyquist

Anthony Beauvillier -- Colton Sissons -- Jason Zucker

Mark Jankowski -- Tommy Novak -- Luke Evangelista

Cole Smith -- Michael McCarron -- Kiefer Sherwood

Ryan McDonagh -- Roman Josi

Jeremy Lauzon -- Alexandre Carrier

Dante Fabbro -- Luke Schenn

Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Scratched: Tyson Barrie, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Cody Glass, Gustavs Grigals, Juuso Parssinen

Injured: Spencer Stastney (upper body)

No changes for the Canucks, while Nashville will be without Spencer Stastney, who left Game 3 after the hit by Dakota Joshua.

GAME DAY CHATTER

IYKYK

While it's no surprise he got a slap on the wrist, it's a surprise they even gave him a slap on the wrist. Complete douchebaggery from the Preds forward, and a costly one as the Canucks scored on the resulting PP.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

With their new album out in a couple weeks time, Vancouver's own UNLEASH THE ARCHERS are preparing to bring their energetic brand of power metal to festivals around the globe, and while there's no shows planned in Canada thus far apart from a date in Laval, PQ in Spetember, there's sure to be some in their next touring cycle that you can check out. From 'Phantoma', out May 10 on Napalm Records, this is Seeking Vengeance.

A little afternoon hockey sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday, eh? Enjoy the game, everyone! Go Canucks Go!!!

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