Beating Silovs, and potential goaltending decisions for the Oilers and Canucks

Edmonton Oilers Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Yaremchuk
1 month ago
The late Evan Bouchard winner in Game 4 of the Oilers second-round series against the Vancouver Canucks could very well end up being the moment we look at a week from now as the true turning point.
Game 4 is the one that I have always considered the swing game. When you’re down 2-1, like the Oilers were, then it’s about as close to a must-win as you can get. Lose that game, and suddenly you’ll have to beat the same team three straight times to avoid elimination. Win that game? Well, then it feels like you’ve got new life as the series is a best-of-three.
The Oilers are heading out to Vancouver, and they should be feeling pretty good about themselves, but here’s the thing: momentum does not carry over from game to game.
We’ve seen it a bunch of times already this season during the Oilers playoff run. After beating up on the Kings in Game 1 of their series, they followed it up with a poor first period and a loss on home ice. After getting an emotional OT win on the road in Game 2 against the Canucks, they fall flat in Game 3 on home ice.
My message to the Oilers ahead of Game 5 in Vancouver tonight would be that despite not really having brought their ‘A’ game at any point, they’ve been the better team in this series. However, this series has shown us that it can be hard to regain control of a game if they take their foot off the gas.
To the Canucks credit, once they start to grab momentum in a game, it’s been hard for the Oilers to get it back. This is a very resilient Canucks team and they truly never believe that they’re out of a hockey game.
The Oilers need to try and break the spirit of this Canucks team early, but that’s easier said than done.


Feb 26, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place.
The Oilers need to get more scoring from their forward group at 5v5 if they want to win this series. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got off the schneid with a massive goal in Game 4 and now it’s time for others to follow suit.
The pressure is on the Oilers’ third line, which should feature Warren Foegele, Ryan McLeod, and Corey Perry again. That trio has combined for one goal in these playoffs and it was Foegele’s empty netter in Game 1 against the Kings. They need to get going.
Foegele played a team-low 7:47 last game, a clear message that Kris Knoblauch is running out of patience with the player. In the regular season, he was a hard-forechecking winger with a good nose for the net and a knack for finding lanes and getting breakaways.
In the playoffs? His willingness to engage physically has been wildly inconsistent and he hasn’t been flying through the neutral zone the same way he was during the regular season.
They need the 20-goal version of Foegele. Not whatever this is.
Every forward on the Oilers also has to do a much better job of going to the net. Canucks goaltender Arthur Silovs has shown a tendency to drop some pretty juicy rebounds and the Oilers simply haven’t put themselves in a position to capitalize on them.
Silovs is very beatable if you throw pucks towards him and have bodies in front of the net. The Bouchard winner from Tuesday is a perfect example. It wasn’t a particularly hard or perfectly placed shot, but there was traffic and it beat Silovs (granted the traffic was two Canucks players).
Get more bodies to the net, make Silovs’ life hell, and you’ll win the game.


Apr 21, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) reacts as the Canucks celebrate a goal score by forward Elias Lindholm (23) against the Nashville Predators in the second period in game one of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena.
Frank Seravalli said this morning on The DFO Rundown that Thatcher Demko has taken shots for three straight days and Rick Tocchet said that his health is improving. That raises the question for Vancouver: if you lose Game 5, do you go to Demko for Game 6?
Arturs Silovs has been very good so far in this series and in these playoffs but he’s obviously not Thatcher Demko, who had a strong Vezina Trophy case this season. Would he spark the team? Or is it too much of a risk to potentially bring him back if he’s not at 100%?
If the Canucks win tonight, then I don’t think there’s much of a choice. You go back to Silovs if he wins you the game tonight.
The Oilers are in a somewhat similar spot. If you win Game 5, I would imagine that Kris Knoblauch just sticks with Calvin Pickard for Game 6, but what if you lose? Then the decision becomes a lot more difficult.
If your season is on the line, do you want to throw Stuart Skinner back out there?
In reality, that decision won’t just be based off whether or not the Oilers win or lose. If they win 6-5 and Pickard allows five goals on 20 shots, then it would make a lot of sense to go back to Skinner for Game 6, even though Pickard would be 2-0. You could also apply the reverse scenario. If the Oilers lose 2-1 and Pickard stops 30 shots, then it would make sense to run him back for a must-win game at home.


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