Connect with us


Canucks and Oilers Finally Underway Tonight

Two Pacific Division rivals battle for a ticket to the Conference Finals.

After waiting way too long to get this series underway, the Canucks and Oilers finally meet tonight at Rogers Arena for Game 1. According to the odds, this series is the most one-sided of all the second-round matchups, and yet, the underdogs are the team with home ice advantage. It’s no secret that many people are picking Edmonton to roll in this series, and with the dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid firing on all cylinders, that’s a very understandable prediction. However, Vancouver has been slept on all year, and they’re still standing. Can the top-seeded Canucks shock the hockey world and keep their incredible season alive? Let’s get into it.

The Canucks

Their first round series with the Preds wasn’t pretty, but the Canucks still got the job done in six games with three different goalies. Sure, they weren’t great offensively, but Nashville also made them play that kind of game. The shot attempts were low for both teams, and at the end of the day, it was a great sign for Vancouver that their defensive game stood up and made it work. In this upcoming series against Edmonton, the test is a different one. Stopping Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is a challenge that’s almost impossible to practice for but will be essential to at least slow them down. One way you can do that is with discipline. Edmonton’s powerplay is the best in the league, and if Vancouver takes too many penalties, they’ll pay for it.

On offence, Vancouver needs to get Elias Pettersson going. The Canucks won’t be winning games with one or two goals in this series and for them to put up more, Petey needs to find his game. Both the third and the first lines did their part against Nashville, but Pettersson’s line alongside Ilya Mikheyev and Nils Hoglander was rather invisible. If they can’t produce, they’ll need to find a way to keep one of Edmonton’s top lines off the scoresheet instead. That might be an even tougher ask.

The Oilers

Despite losing all four meetings with Vancouver in the regular season, Edmonton comes into this series as a heavy favorite. They’ve been one of the best teams in the league since hiring Kris Knoblauch, and with three of their losses against the Canucks coming before they hired him, those games don’t hold a lot of weight in the minds of fans. In Round 1, Edmonton put on a clinic. Stuart Skinner and the defensive group held their ground, which let Connor McDavid and the offence go out and win games. The power play was fantastic, and both McDavid and Draisaitl found the scoresheet in every game.

In this series, Edmonton needs to be a little more wary of Vancouver’s offence. The Kings are a solid defensive team, but they averaged 3.10 goals per game this season as opposed to Vancouver’s 3.40. The Canucks are an optimistic team, and if their powerplay catches fire, it can make the difference in a game. Offensively, Edmonton should be firing everything they can muster at Arturs Silovs. The third stringer was great for Vancouver in Round 1, but he’s still very inexperienced at the NHL level. With Demko projecting to be out until at least Game 5, getting to Silovs early in this series could give Vancouver a problem in the crease that they won’t be able to climb out of. Expect a lot of shot attempts from Edmonton, especially early in this series.

Canucks and Oilers – The Pick

I don’t think this Canucks and Oilers series is as lopsided as others, but without Elias Pettersson playing his game, Edmonton’s offensive advantage is a problem for Vancouver. Stuart Skinner may not be in the upper echelon of goalies in the NHL, but when he’s behind the Oilers, he’s usually good enough to get the job done. If the Canucks manage to stay out of the box and take advatange of their own opportunities, this series could go either way. However, it’s a tall task to win four games like that against the Oilers right now, and at the end of the day, I don’t think it happens for Vancouver without Thatcher Demko in net. I’ll take the OILERS IN SIX.

SERIES PREVIEWS: Carolina vs. New York || Boston vs. Florida || Colorado vs. Dallas

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Must See

More in Hockey