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Keys to victory for the Oilers in Game 7 against the Canucks

Stuart Skinner Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers forced a Game 7 on Saturday night with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. It was the first time in this series that either team had won by more than a goal. Stuart Skinner returned to the crease, stopping 14 of 15 shots while getting great goal support from the group ahead of him.
It’s do or die tonight as the two Western Canadian rivals go head-to-head at Rogers Arena. The Oilers’ last Game 7 was in the first round of the 2022 playoffs when they beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 with goals from Cody Ceci and Connor McDavid. As for the Canucks, their most recent Game 7 came when they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the bubble playoffs. Their last home playoff Game 7 was in 2011 when they fell to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
Of course, history means little once the puck is dropped and it comes down to the talent on the ice. Do the Oilers have enough to get by the Canucks and move on to face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Finals? Here are three key victories heading into Game 7 in Vancouver.

The Oilers’ Defence

Defence and the Oilers aren’t two words that fans around the NHL connect. However, when the Oilers have won games in the postseason thus far, it’s because their structure has been strong and consistent. The two games that stand out the most are games 3 and 4 versus the Los Angeles Kings in round 1. In game 4, the Oilers won 1-0 despite being out show 33 to 13 but they only allowed the Kings four high danger chances. They had a similar performance in Game 6 on Saturday night, giving the Canucks seven high-danger chances with zero coming in the second period. It was a similar tale in game 4 when the Canucks had no high-danger chance in the first 40 minutes. Keeping the Canucks to the outside tonight and giving Stuart Skinner a pleasant evening should be the recipe for success.

The Star Players

Arguably the most obvious statement ever: the Oilers need their star players to show up. In game 5, Edmonton got goals from Evander Kane and Mattias Jamark at five-on-five, but their powerplay failed to give them any further run support, going 0 for 5. In Game 6, the powerplay dried up again; however, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard all played huge roles at even strength. It can’t be one or the other tonight for them. The Oilers need them to execute at five-on-five and on the powerplay tonight. They get paid the big bucks for moments like this.

Attacking The Canucks’ Depth

Tonight, the Canucks are without Brock Boeser, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs with blood clots. Boeser has had a great series, with three goals and six points in six games. Without him in the lineup, a major void has appeared, one the Oilers need to capitalize on. Additionally, they must continue to attack Vancouver’s third line of Dakota Joshua, Teddy Bleuger and Connor Garland. Joshua and Garland started the series off hot with Elias Lindholm as their centre, but since he moved away from them to join Pettersson on the season line, that duo has struggled without him. They were on the ice for both goals against in Game 5 and another in Game 6 while also being outshot eight to five. With Boeser out, it’s unlikely they can reunite Lindholm with Joshua and Garland, so the Oilers must capitalize when they’re against that duo.

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