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What the Oilers can expect from the Canucks in Round 2

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
1 month ago
With the Edmonton Oilers set to take on the Vancouver Canucks in Round 2 of the NHL playoffs, I thought it would be a good time to reach out to David Quadrelli from Canucksarmy.com to get his sense of what we should expect in Round 2. We all know that the Canucks won all four regular-season games played in 2023-24, but I’d also suggest that the playoffs are a different animal. That’s why I wanted to ask Quads what he thinks about the upcoming series and offer his take on what the Canucks are likely to do to try and keep Edmonton’s offence in check.
Baggedmilk: The Canucks obviously went 4-0 against the Oilers in the regular season, but those numbers don’t generally matter when the playoffs roll around. What are you expecting from Round 2, and how do you think the Canucks match up against a much different opponent than they saw in Nashville?
David Quadrelli: The Canucks got through round one with most of their stars being quiet, not to mention Thatcher Demko being out altogether. Quinn Hughes, JT Miller, and Brock Boeser were among the only ones who showed up all series long, aside from some big moments from the often-dominant third line of Dakota Joshua, Elias Lindholm, and Conor Garland. Heading into game six vs. Nashville, the Canucks had just 24 shots in the entire series when Hughes or Miller wasn’t on the ice.
That’s insane, and you’d have to assume that Elias Pettersson, among others, will be ready to go for this series. The Canucks have a lot of good vibes around them right now, and those struggling players looked a lot better in game six. I do think the Canucks match up better against the Oilers than any other team still in the playoffs. Hell, they didn’t even match up against Nashville all that well. It could be a long, high-scoring series.
The Canucks are great at entering the zone with speed, and even in that final game of the season between these two teams, Vancouver was able to expose Darnell Nurse en route to clinching the Pacific Division. The Oilers have cleaned up so much under Kris Knoblauch, so it will be interesting to see what those adjustments do to this matchup.
BM: Nashville did a decent job of limiting the Canucks’ offence despite having plenty of guys that can score. What did Nashville do well on defence, and what do the Canucks need to improve heading into this next round?
Quads: Nashville collapsed to the middle of the ice so much and had a good enough goaltender to make saves on basically any puck that he could see. They blocked a ton of shots, and Elias Pettersson looked like he was dealing with something that seemed to get better as the series went on. He was scared to shoot the puck earlier in the series, but looked a lot more like himself in games five and six. The Canucks need to get shots on net in this series and be the first on rebounds. Too often vs. Nashville would they move the puck around the outside before shooting it wide or looking for a slap pass that they couldn’t convert on.
BM: Despite being a rookie goaltender at the NHL level, Arturs Silovs stole the show for the Canucks in Round 1. Are you expecting him to keep the crease against the Oilers, or is there a chance that Demko or DeSmith could reclaim that spot?
Quads: This is Silovs’ crease until Thatcher Demko is healthy. I was an early Silovs truther, and he’s been in big moments already when he backstopped Latvia to a bronze medal last year at the IIHF World Championship. He took home MVP honours in that tournament, and is a calm kid who Arturs Irbe once said would one day lead the Canucks to a Stanley Cup. Rumour has it that Demko could return for games six or seven, if the series gets that far. He started skating early last week, so he’s on the road to recovery.
BM: The Oilers have more high-end talent in their forward group than Nashville does, so what will the Canucks do to try and limit the impact players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can have on any given night?
Quads: The same thing they’ve always done. JT Miller will be hard matched against the McDavid line, and the Canucks will be hoping for similar results. When these teams have met in the past, McDavid has been almost completely neutralized during the minutes he’s on the ice against Miller. That’s at even strength though. The Canucks’ penalty kill was phenomenal in round one, but Nashville’s power play sucks and doesn’t have half the star power Edmonton does. That Oilers PP is going to be a problem, but my hot take for the series is that Edmonton’s star power won’t make much of a difference at even strength. The Canucks defence has also been rock-solid basically all year long as well, and their defence corps hasn’t looked as good as it did against Nashville all year.
BM: Let’s play some mad libs, cool? The Oilers will win the series if __________. The Canucks will win the series if ______.
Quads: The Oilers will win the series if their power play keeps humming the way it has been, full stop. The Canucks will win the series if they can neutralize McDavid and Draisaitl at evens and stay out of the box.

THE WRAP…

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this series. It’s not just that the Oilers are taking on another Canadian team — that in itself is going to be thrilling to be a part of — but also to see if our boys can exact some revenge against a team that stole their lunch money in all four regular season meetings. Even though regular season results don’t matter much anymore, I hope the Oilers look at those four losses and use it as fuel for this upcoming round, showing the Canucks who they really are.
This is one of those opportunities to hold a series win over the other fanbase’s heads, and I cannot even begin to describe how fantastic that moment will be. On the flip side, it would be a nightmare if the Canucks come out on top. So what does it all mean? The next two days of our lives will be filled with nervous energy until we finally get going. Either way, I could not be more excited to get this thing going if I tried, and I know that I’m not the only one that will be constantly watching the clock until the puck drops tomorrow around 8:15 PM(ish).
Oilers in six. What have you go?

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