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Western Conference Round Two: Canucks vs Edmonton Game 6

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.


5:00PM PST



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.


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.


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


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!


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