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Canucks vs. Oilers: Some lessons learned from a seven-game thriller



Patrick Johnston: How the sequence went Edmonton’s method and away from Vancouver.

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The Vancouver Canucks received a sequence of their first playoff marketing campaign in 4 years, and so they almost received a second.

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It was a troublesome end Monday night time, dropping 3-2, but when we zoom and take a look at what was achieved, the Canucks did some exceptional issues: They caught to their weapons. They performed their method. They pushed a Stanley Cup contender to the restrict.

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However there are, in fact, classes to be drawn from all this.

Oh, so shut

J.T. Miller’s shot, a superbly set one-timer by Elias Pettersson, was certainly entering into, nearly all observers agree.

Too dangerous about Nikita Zadorov’s huge leg.

That’s a bounce that goes towards you. That’s the way it goes generally. That’s how shut the Canucks had been to sending Sport 7 to time beyond regulation, even in a sport the place they’d appeared flustered and with out solutions for lengthy stretches.

That they discovered resilience on the finish of all of it is a robust level on this group’s favour and one thing to construct on, however lean much less on, in 2024-25. They wish to be just like the Oilers, main the best way. That’s by means of increased ability constructed on high of confidence and onerous work.

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Vancouver Canucks’ Conor Garland, entrance proper, and Nikita Zadorov collide in entrance of goalie Arturs Silovs throughout the second interval in Sport 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff sequence towards the Edmonton Oilers, in Vancouver, on Monday, Could 20, 2024. Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Particular groups

We knew coming into the Pacific Division ultimate sequence that for the Canucks to have any hope of success they must discover a approach to decelerate the Oilers’ famed energy play.

Edmonton had skated previous Los Angeles within the first spherical largely due to their prowess on the person benefit.

The Oilers scored 9 objectives in 5 video games towards the Kings.

Remarkably, the Canucks did decelerate the Oilers’ energy play: Edmonton managed simply six objectives throughout the sequence’ seven video games and simply two of these had been within the ultimate 4 video games.

As an alternative it was the Oilers’ penalty kill that proved to be the true difference-maker within the sequence.

The Canucks struggled to get setup on a lot of their alternatives, the Oilers doing a masterful job of simply yielding no area contained in the blue line on zone entries.

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And so the Canucks scored simply three energy play objectives throughout the sequence.

The Oilers received the particular groups battle — simply not fairly in the best way we thought they could.

Arturs Silovs #31 and Ian Cole #82 of the Vancouver Canucks speak during the second period in Game Seven of the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 20, 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Arturs Silovs and Ian Cole converse throughout the second interval Photograph by Derek Cain /Getty Photos

Chasing the sport is difficult

There’s a easy fact in hockey: rating first and also you’ve received an excellent probability of successful the sport.

Within the 2023-24 common season, groups win about two-thirds of the video games the place they rating the primary objective. Within the present Stanley Cup playoffs, the scoring-first successful proportion really drops to 57.9 per cent … however would you imagine that the 4 groups with the most effective information when scoring first are the 4 groups remaining within the playoffs?

Remarkably the Oilers have scored first in 10 out of their 12 playoff video games this spring.

Seven of the eight wins they’ve collected of their first two rounds noticed them rating first.

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It’s simply actually onerous to return again towards the most effective groups.

The Canucks solely scored first in a single sport, Sport 2, and so they misplaced that sport.

That they had been capable of take two come-from-behind wins within the sequence is sort of exceptional actually.

But it surely’s additionally why the Canucks lamented their failure on a four-minute energy play within the first interval of Sport 7. Rating there and the sport could be very completely different.

Relentless schedule performs no favourites

If you’re enjoying each different night time, there’s no time for correct restoration.

And in case you’re attempting to chase the sport, your power reserves are going to be much more sapped.

There’s little doubt Quinn Hughes, as an example, was giving his all on the finish of Sport 7, however you may see the fatigue in his sport.

The Oilers had a grinding, puck-killing offensive zone shift with about three minutes left within the sport. Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele mixed to pin the Canucks’ high line in their very own finish for a couple of minute, forcing them to burn off power and time in a method that was completely the other of what they wished.

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Edmonton had almost every week off earlier than the sequence began. The Canucks had only a few days after their first-round sequence versus Nashville. That relaxation benefit was evident by the top of the sequence.

Nikita Zadorov #91 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up the ice during warmup before Game Seven of the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena on May 20, 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Nikita Zadorov #91 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up the ice throughout warmup earlier than Sport Seven of the Second Spherical of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs towards the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Area on Could 20, 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photograph by Derek Cain /Getty Photos

Draisaitl, the monster

We love the underdog narrative however ultimately, you’ll solely go as far as your stars.

There was a lot speak about Connor McDavid’s play, many missed what a monster efficiency Leon Draisaitl put in.

Taking part in with what sources mentioned was a nasty again, Draisaitl willed his group ahead. He collected 14 factors over the sequence. And the choice of the Oilers’ coaches to place him again on his personal line halfway by means of the sequence was an enormous turning level within the Oilers’ favour in the long term.

Vancouver Canucks' Quinn Hughes, front right, and Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid talk while shaking hands after Edmonton defeated Vancouver during Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Monday, May 20, 2024.
Quinn Hughes, entrance proper, and Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid discuss whereas shaking palms after Edmonton defeated Vancouver Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

The goalie query

Arturs Silovs was pushed to his most and he carried out admirably on the second-biggest stage he’s ever stood on, however let’s be clear: Thatcher Demko was a breath away from a return.

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Even when his damage was first recognized, it was believed he had a small probability of returning for Sport 7.

He almost did it.

You do must marvel if the coaches contemplated bringing him again on the final minute, as if he had been a hero returning on a horse to avoid wasting the battle.

However ultimately, the Canucks caught to their plan and Demko got here up one full observe quick.

Water drips from the masks of Vancouver Canucks goalie Arturs Silovs as he waits throughout a stoppage in play throughout the second interval in Sport 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff sequence towards the Edmonton Oilers, in Vancouver, on Thursday, Could 16, 2024. Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

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