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

Western Conference Round Two: Canucks vs Edmonton Game 5

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!

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