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Instant Reaction: Canucks play their best game of the series as JT Miller scores late in 3-2 win over Oilers

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 month ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is on The Stanchies, and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning!
78% of teams that win game five in a series tied at two go on to win the series, so tonight’s game was very important, to say the absolute least.
Pius Suter nearly got things started the right way when he broke into the Edmonton zone on a 2-on-1 with JT Miller. He missed the pass, and in a moment, things got started the wrong way for the Canucks as Suter was called for goaltender interference, giving the Oilers’ ever-dangerous power play their first opportunity of the night early.
The Oilers have scored on their first power play of each game in this series so far, and thankfully for the Canucks, that changed tonight as this one remained scoreless early on.
Despite that, it was still the Oilers who came to play early on, and after a sloppy change from the Canucks and even sloppier defensive zone coverage, Evander Kane opened the scoring for Edmonton.
Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander had the Canucks’ first great shift of the game, and although it didn’t end in a goal, Arturs Silovs did his part in keeping the Canucks within one when he made a phenomenal stop on Connor Brown.
Quinn Hughes took a puck over glass penalty, giving the Oilers their second power play of the game.
Silovs made a remarkable right pad save, and Elias Pettersson made a nice read to set Phil Di Giuseppe up on a 2-on-1. Thankfully for the Canucks, those were the only highlights of the Oilers’ power play. After that kill, the Canucks looked rejuvenated, and Pettersson was especially noticeable early on.
They’d need to do it again shortly after, as Ian Cole took a brutal holding penalty that was quickly negated when the Oilers took a penalty just seconds into their power play.
The Canucks had a very brief power play that they nearly struck on, when Elias Pettersson shot a puck through traffic with Brock Boeser and Conor Garland banging away at. The puck trickled toward the gaping Edmonton goal, but was pulled off the line by Vincent Desharnais.
The Canucks kept the pressure up however, and it was Carson Soucy who opened the scoring for the home team with just over two minutes remaining in the first period. On the very next shift, it was the Oilers’ fourth line that struck to give the Oilers the lead once again.
The Canucks entered the second down by a goal, and needed to do a much better job of limiting the Oilers’ odd-man rushes and movement through the neutral zone.
Vancouver’s fourth line scored their second goal of the game when Phil Di Giuseppe turned in yet another solid, hard-working shift for the new dad.
The Canucks’ forecheck was quickly becoming the story of the second period. Later, Evander Kane was called for slashing Nikita Zadorov. All of a sudden, this game had some serious pace and life to it as the two teams traded blows. Remember two seconds ago, when you read that the Canucks’ forecheck was becoming the story of the second period?
Well, that story quickly became the officiating when Elias Pettersson was called for charging on this play.
This game quickly became a ref show, as Dakota Joshua was the next player assessed a penalty, giving the Oilers their fifth power play of the night. Miraculously, the Canucks killed off all five of those power plays, and after playing one of their best periods of the playoffs, they entered the third period tied at two.
The Pettersson line got back to creating offence, and Nils Höglander was robbed by Pickard and then the post on a bang-bang play that ended with Brett Kulak tripping Elias Lindholm and a Canucks power play.
The Canucks’ PP continued to look dangerous, but couldn’t convert as Calvin Pickard stood tall in the Edmonton goal crease.  This was by far the Canucks’ best game of the series — maybe even the entire playoffs — and they didn’t have a lead to show for it.
For so much of this series, it’s been the Canucks who have bent but refused to break, but in this game, it was the Canucks applying all the pressure and the Oilers spending most of their time defending.
Of course, that meant we were all waiting for the random Oilers goal against the run of play as time dwindled down in the third.
Instead, it was another strong play started from Elias Pettersson’s line. He, Elias Lindholm, and Nils Höglander were exceptional tonight, but it was JT Miller who pounced on the rebound and gave the Canucks the lead with under 32 seconds to go.
Canucks win and roll into Edmonton with a 3-2 series lead.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!
Be sure to tune into Rink Wide Vancouver moments after the final horn LIVE on YouTube!

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