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GDB +12.0: Oilers look to close in Game 7 behind enemy lines (7pm MT, CBC)

Rogers Arena in Vancouver
Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Is there anything better than Game 7 in the NHL playoffs? No. That’s the answer. Rest up, ladies and gentlemen, because we’re only hours away from the Oilers playing in the most important game of their season.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway.
What a difference a couple of days can make, am I right? After a disastrous outing and loss in Game 5, many of us felt down and out. That’s not to say we gave up hope, but rather that the loss felt like a significant missed opportunity. The boys basically put themselves on the ropes by not being ready to play. Thankfully, the Oilers rebounded from their Game 5 mess with one of their best outings of the playoffs, extending the series to seven games with a dominating 5-1 win.
Of course, playing one good game doesn’t win anyone a playoff series. The Oilers will need to follow up on Saturday’s performance with another, something they have yet to do in this series. More importantly, the boys cannot look across the ice at a team they just demolished two nights ago and think this will be easy. Our side was completely outclassed the last time these teams played at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, and that cannot happen again, especially when the stakes are this high. Win, and you move on, or lose and start booking tee times — it really is as simple as that.
To this point in the series, no one has been able to win consecutive games, and that’s a hurdle the Oilers will need to clear if they plan to move on to the Western Conference Final. In three contests played at Rogers Arena, the Oil are 1-2 and have been outscored 11-10 in those matchups, making this fourth and final game a huge challenge. I guess what I’m saying is that the Oilers haven’t been great in Vancouver, and anything less than their best effort would be a long walk down the short path to disaster.
If the Oilers are going to win this game, then they’ll need to follow the same blueprint they used on Saturday night. The boys played a simple brand of hockey, they supported each other, they hit everything that moved, and they didn’t allow the Canucks to dictate the pace of play for even a minute. That’s not to say that the Canucks didn’t get any scoring chances — they certainly did — but Edmonton did an excellent job limiting what they could produce and also clearing the garbage away rather than allowing for any sustained pressure.
With the series hinging on one last game, whichever team comes out on top will be the one that executes the best. Outside of Game 6, we’ve had nothing but one-goal finishes, and I would suspect that tonight’s finale will be more of the same. Even with Brock Boeser out of the lineup, the Canucks will be able to put out the matchups they want and those head-to-heads have been pretty effective against the Oil behind enemy lines. If our beloved Oilers are going to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Final, my bet is that someone outside of the usual suspects will have to step up.
Can it be done? Of course. Do I believe our boys have what it takes to win this series? You know I do. The big question is whether or not the Oilers learned their lessons from what went wrong four days ago. With the Game 7 on deck and a ticket to the Western Conference Final on the line, we’re only a few short (read: long) hours from finding out.
Let’s see what the numbers say…

THE NUMBERS

OILERSCANUCKS
RECORD7-47-5
WIN/LOSS STREAKW1L1
GOALS FOR4331
GOALS AGAINST3133
POWER PLAY%36.815.2
PENALTY KILL%90.682.5
AVG. SHOTS/FOR29.921.1
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST25.227.0
TEAM SAVE%.891.916
CORSI FOR%49.9547.85
PDO0.9991.018
TEAM SHOOTING%10.7910.15
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%49.6751.01
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Edmonton and Vancouver’s first-ever Game 7 meeting will be the 125th unique seventh-and-deciding contest in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (second in 2024: VGK vs. DAL). The Canucks will be the ninth different franchise the Oilers will face in a Game 7, following the Flames (3 GP), Kings (2), Ducks (1), Hurricanes (1), Avalanche (1), Stars (1), Coyotes/Jets (1) and Flyers (1).
  • The Oilers are set to play in their 12th Game 7 of all-time and have a 7-4 record in the 11 games played before this one. Their .636 winning percentage in this exact scenario is the sixth-highest percentage in NHL history , and that total includes a 3-3 record as the road team.

GAME PREVIEW PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Holloway
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Janmark – Carrick – Brown
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Desharnais
Kulak – Ceci
Skinner
Unsurprisingly, Kris Knoblauch isn’t making any lineup changes after the Oilers played what I’d argue was their best game of the playoffs in Game 6. With their backs against the wall, Edmonton gave us a full 60 minutes of aggressive, responsible hockey, and it will take nothing less than that if they’re going to complete the comeback.

Canucks

Mikheyev – Miller – Pettersson
Joshua – Lindholm – Garland
Di Giuseppe – Blueger – Aman
Hoglander – Suter – Lafferty
Hughes – Hronek
Soucy – Myers
Zadorov – Cole
Silovs
The Canucks were dealt a significant blow yesterday when it was announced that Brock Boeser will be unavailable for Game 7 and beyond due to a serious blood clotting issue. Boeser has been an Oilers killer this entire season with nine goals under his belt, and not having him in the lineup is a considerable hole no matter how you slice it.
Most importantly, I hope Boeser is okay. The guy has dealt with so much on and off the ice over the last few years that this latest issue is a slap to the face that he certainly doesn’t deserve. On the human side, I feel for him deeply. Here’s hoping for a full and speedy recovery.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Canucksarmy.com:
For one night, they have a chance to pull off an upset against the best player in the world and his Edmonton Oilers.
“The good thing about game seven is it’s one game, right? So I think we just have to put all of our energy and focus on that game.”
The Canucks had a chance to close out the Oilers in Game 6, but ended up turning in their worst performance of the postseason in a 5-1 defeat. But now they get another shot in front of their own raucous Rogers Arena crowd, the first Game 7 in Vancouver since a fateful June day in 2011.
“Obviously, there’s things we can learn from [Saturday] that weren’t good. But we know what works against these guys, too,” Miller said. “And you gotta expect everyone to bring their best effort on both sides.”
“We respond well after we don’t bring our A-game. So we expect the same as a group and as part of the culture in here and standard. So that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
The Canucks have figured out a ton about themselves over the last month. Vancouver has relied on winning games the hard way against the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers, making the most of their low shot totals and winning with defensive efforts. But that strategy has bit them in a few games, requiring late-game comebacks to secure victory.
“We’re not a high volume shot team. I think we’ve learned that in general, so it’s not a huge panic for us. I just think when we’re on our game, we get more looks and we shoot the puck. It’s not like we’re going to look to cross the blue line and start shooting every single puck on net,” Miller said.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers come back from being down 3-2 in the series with a clutch 4-2 win on the road, sending them to Dallas for the Western Conference Final.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each register multi-point nights in a game where we need our best players to be the best players, and the Dynamic Duo rise to the challenge in a way that only they can.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Warren Foegele scores a big first period goal to get the boys on the board.

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