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Mark Messier (and many others) pick the Oilers to beat the Canucks in round two

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Photo credit:Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nation World HQ
1 month ago
Despite being the higher seed in their upcoming Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers, it’s safe to say the Vancouver Canucks are embracing their role as the underdogs — well, head coach Rick Tocchet is, at least.
Some of his players, like J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes, pushed back on that notion on Sunday, but Tocchet said he wants his team to lean into being underestimated against their Pacific Division rivals.
“I love being doubted,” Tocchet told CanucksArmy‘s Jeff Paterson on Sunday. “I think it started at the start of the year and you asked if Vancouver was going to make the playoffs and a lot of people said no or a bubble team, so we’re underdogs there. As the season went on, when are they going to fall? Same thing. People said the Preds are going to win. I think we kind of like that underdog role and I think players should embrace it. I really do.”
It’s fair to say the Canucks haven’t commanded the same level of respect as the Oilers among onlookers in the lead-up to the start of their playoff series, with the vast majority of pundits around the league picking Edmonton to advance.
In an ESPN poll of 24 different analysts, broadcasters, and players published on Sunday, 23 of them — including former Canucks and Oilers captain Mark Messier — picked Edmonton to win the series.
The lone holdout, ESPN NHL writer Ryan S. Clark, picked the Canucks to win in seven games. Just four others (Linda Cohn, Hilary Knight, Bob Wischusen, and Greg Wyshynski) said the Oilers will need the maximum seven games to win the series; no one predicted a sweep.
The Athletic‘s Dom Luszczyszyn gave the Canucks a 26 percent chance of winning the series in his own preview on Sunday, calling the Oilers the “heavy favourites” to take the series — most likely in five or six games — against an “overachieving Canucks team that doesn’t appear to have the starpower or depth to match their Alberta rivals.”
On Saturday, Daily Faceoff posted its own Canucks/Oilers series preview, with author Mike Gould picking the Canucks to win the “firecracker of a series” in seven — with the deciding game going to overtime.
The Canucks are expected to host Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Oilers on Tuesday evening.

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