‘He’s gotta get in the fight’: Trevor Linden talks Elias Pettersson and the Canucks’ playoff run

Should the Canucks take Elias Pettersson off the top powerplay?
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
On today’s special edition of Rink Wide Vancouver, Jeff Paterson and Irfaan Gaffar welcomed Canucks legend Trevor Linden to recap the Canucks’ first round and preview their second-round matchup against Edmonton.
“That series reminded me in some ways of the 2007 series against Dallas. Goals were just so hard to come by,” JPat said of the Canucks’ series vs. Nashville. “Goaltending was incredible with Luongo and Marty Turco back then. This high-scoring Canucks team, for much of the season, had to grind to get the goals they needed to win that series.”
“They bought into that as the way they’re going to have to win, and that shows a lot of maturity on their part,” Linden agreed. “They were able to play that style of hockey, and that’s tough sometimes. It’s patient; you gotta wait for your chances. I thought they were coming back for Game 7; I thought Nashville would win at least once at home. Give [the Canucks] credit. They stuck with it, played really well in that third period in Game 6. Brock made a great play, and they got it done. This next series presents a host of other challenges.”
“It’s different from the bubble; you can’t compare that,” Linden said of how the Canucks’ experience factors into their matchup against the Oilers. “You’ve got the pressure of opening up at home here and playing back and forth at different rinks. For this young Vancouver team, it’s almost like you’re playing for free now after getting through that first round. I do think Vancouver’s defence could pose some challenges for Edmonton – they’re long and rangy, and that’s hard to play against, especially when you think about the skill on the other side. That’s a real key to the series.”
The guys briefly touched on Elias Pettersson and how he can be a factor in the next round. Pettersson had 3 assists and a -3 plus/minus in the 6 games vs. the Preds and didn’t look anything like the 102-point player we saw a year ago.
“What do you see in Pettersson that he has to figure out to elevate his game?” asked JPat.
“For them to have any sort of chance, he’s gotta be their best player or one of them. You’re going to go through times where you’re not feeling it, not seeing it, but Elias just isn’t in the fight. Let’s be honest here; playoff hockey is a war. You see how some of these [players] approach it as an all-out battle. It’s not just about making plays but competing,” Linden responded. “For me, when I watch Elias, he’s gotta get in the fight. They will not win this series if they don’t have him as one of their best players.”
When it comes to how Vancouver can beat Edmonton, Linden believes defence and discipline will be key factors: “It comes down to the big three on the back end – Zadorov, Soucy, and Myers,” he said. “And discipline. They can’t afford to take bad penalties; there’s no room for any of that. You’re going to take some penalties, absolutely, but you can’t take unnecessary ones. The way this team competed and defended in Round 1 will serve them well, but they’ve got to generate more offence. This series is going to take on a different tone than that Nashville defensive style. One strength of this Vancouver team is they’ve got great depth up front and on the back end. It’s going to be a total team effort.”
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