G12+ Game Notes: Canucks host Oilers in winner-take-all Game 7

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
29 days ago
This is such a good Game 7 that it almost feels scripted.
The Vancouver Canucks hammered the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 8-1 to kick off the 2023-24 NHL season and ran all the way to a surprising finish at the top of the Pacific Division standings. The Oilers spiralled at the start of the season but made a coaching change in November and were arguably the league’s strongest team the rest of the way.
Now the two teams will play in a winner-take-all finale to a rollercoaster ride of a playoff series that’s seen all but one game decided by only one goal. Expect a tight one, and don’t be surprised if this thing goes to overtime.
1. Despite Vancouver finishing higher in the standings, Edmonton came into this series as the heavily favoured team. The Canucks had a very successful regular season but were largely dismissed as an inexperienced team that wouldn’t be able to contain the firepower on the Oilers, especially without Vezina Trophy candidate Thatcher Demko available.
The Oilers took a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 1 in Vancouver and extended it to 4-1 in the second frame. At that point, it looked like the Oilers were going to cruise through this series like they did in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings.
That absolutely wasn’t the case.
The Canucks stormed back with three unanswered goals in the third period and took Game 1 by a score of 5-4. It took four-point efforts from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and an overtime winner from Evan Bouchard in Game 2 to knot the series at 1-1.
The teams have continued going back and forth since. The Canucks came into Edmonton and stole the momentum with a 4-3 victory in Game 3 and then the Oilers edged out a 3-2 win in Game 4 to even the series again. Vancouver won Game 5 at home to put Edmonton on the brink, the Oilers responded with a home win of their own in Game 6, and here we are now.
Anybody expecting the Canucks to roll over in this series was very wrong. This is a team with many doubters and a lot to prove. Beating the Oilers would show that their 50-win season wasn’t a flash in the pan. That division banner means a lot more if you win the playoff series as well.
“We’re fighters,” Carson Soucy told Jeff Paterson of Canucks Army on Sunday. “From training camp, we came in with a mindset that this year was going to be different. We showed that through the year, with the ups and downs, we came back next game ready to play. I think it’s going to be a really good game [on Monday].”
2. This is the first time the Canucks are going to be playing in a Game 7 in front of their home crowd since their 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The most recent Game 7 the Canucks played in was a 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, but there weren’t fans in the stands, so it isn’t really the same experience.
The last time Vancouver won a Game 7 was during their 2011 run. They went up 3-0 in their first-round series with the Chicago Blackhawks but the defending Stanley Cup Champions battled back with three consecutive wins to tie the series at 3-3.
After Jonathan Toews scored with two minutes left in the third period to tie the deciding game at 1-1, Alex Burrows scored five minutes into overtime to win the game for the Canucks. It was a huge win for Vancouver, as the Blackhawks had knocked them out of the playoffs in back-to-back years.
A win over Edmonton here might surpass that overtime thriller against Chicago for the most memorable Game 7 in Canucks history. A loss to the Oilers after being up 3-2 in the series might sting as much as the Stanley Cup Final defeats in Game 7 in 1994 and 2011.
3. This will be the second Game 7 of the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl era for the Oilers. They’re 1-1 in those games.
In the duo’s first playoff appearance in 2017, the Oilers went down 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks and forced a winner-take-all match with a huge 7-1 victory at home in Game 6. Drake Caggiula scored in the first period to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead in Game 7 in Anaheim, but the Ducks shut them down the rest of the way and took the series with a 2-1 win.
They didn’t play in a Game 7 for another five years after that. In 2022, the L.A. Kings were up 3-2 following an overtime win in Edmonton in Game 5 and had an opportunity to ice the series at home in Game 6. The Oilers went into Los Angeles and kept the series alive with a 4-2 win and then Mike Smith and Connor McDavid led them to a 2-0 win in Game 7.
This team has experience playing with their backs against the wall. They played their best game of the series under pressure on Saturday and need to come forward with another effort like that to take down the Canucks in Vancouver.

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