What to expect in Game 1 versus the Canucks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
1 month ago
The long-awaited playoff matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks gets underway tonight. It’ll be the third time in Stanley Cup history that the two Western Canadian rivals go head-to-head, with the Oilers taking the previous two.
How will this round go? Only time will tell, but many have the Oilers as the heavy favourites despite what happened in the regular season. Vancouver took full control of the Oilers over their four meetings, winning each time. However, there are many layers to what happened in those games, and earlier in the season, the Oilers weren’t who they are now.
The Canucks are still without Thatcher Demko for the earlier portion of the series, which plays a huge role even with the play of Casey DeSmith and Artur Silovs. Edmonton confirmed that Adam Henrique is out for Game 1, too.
What do the Oilers need to do to succeed tonight? Let’s take a look at what to expect.

A rotation next to Connor McDavid

The only news surrounding the Oilers lineup ahead of Game 1 in Vancouver is that Henrique misses the game. Henrique hasn’t skated since Edmonton wrapped up their Round 1 series against the Los Angeles Kings due to a lower-body injury. Mattias Janmark has taken his spot on the top line which has sparked the conversation of who should play next to Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman. Fans should expect a full rotation next in that spot. Whether it’s Janmark, Dylan Holloway, Warren Foegele, or even Leon Draisaitl, head coach Kris Knoblauch won’t be afraid to mix up the match in an attempt to disrupt the Canucks plans. My guess is that Holloway sees the most minutes at five-on-five alongside McDavid and Hyman.

The Physical Battle

The Oilers Round 1 series versus the King wasn’t as physical as many expected. Besides game 3, the Oilers refused to give in to the Kings’ ratty ways, which led to an endless parade of powerplay, helping them win the series quickly. Tonight, expect the Canucks to attempt to get under the Oilers skin. It feels like all we’ve heard about is how the Canucks have a huge blueline and how JT Miller is going to rattle McDavid. Is that exactly what the Kings wanted to do but it failed? The Oilers aren’t going to let the Canucks dictate the game that way, and if Vancouver gets aggressive, then let the powerplays roll in.

Goaltending Exposure

There’s no doubt that Arturs Silovs played fantastic against Nashville in Round 1; however, the Predators’ offence doesn’t compare to what the Oilers have to offer. If I was putting a couple of shillings down on Betway, which I am, looking at Oilers over 3.5 teams’ goals would be a great spot. Edmonton’s offence thrived in Round 1, even with only one goal from McDavid. The key to victory in Game 1 needs to be to get on top of Silovs early.

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