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Scenes from morning skate: Canucks stick with winning lineup and Skinner starts for Oilers in Game 6

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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EDMONTON – The Vancouver Canucks have a chance to advance to the National Hockey League’s Western Conference Final for the first time in 13 years with a victory tonight over the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. 
The Canucks hold a 3-2 series edge in this second round series following a 3-2 home ice victory in Game 5 on Thursday night. The last two game winning goals in this series have been scored in the final minute of regulation time plus Game 2 was decided in overtime.

What we saw

The Canucks held an optional skate in Edmonton this morning. It appears Rick Tocchet will go with the same line-up he used in Game 5. That means Phil Di Giuseppe, who scored his first NHL playoff goal on Thursday, will remain in uniform along with Nils Höglander and Vasily Podkolzin. Veteran Ian Cole, who has struggled in this series, remains in the Canucks line-up.
JT Miller scored the winning goal on Thursday with just 33 seconds remaining. Carson Soucy, back from a one game suspension, also scored for the Canucks. Soucy has 1+3=4 in his four games in this series. He produced 2+4=6 in 40 games during the regular season.
Arturs Silovs will make his ninth straight start in goal for the Canucks. That means Silovs will have played as much playoff hockey as regular season hockey in his brief NHL career. Thatcher Demko joined his Canucks teammates for this morning’s skate in Edmonton. He continue to rehab from a knee injury suffered four weeks ago tomorrow.
Starting with Game 3 of the last round against Nashville, the Canucks have played in nine straight one-goal games. After Thursday’s win, they are 6-3 over that stretch. The club is 4-1 on the road in the playoffs. That included a split of games in Edmonton earlier in this series and all three games in Nashville in the opening round.
The Oilers are on the brink of elimination and will turn to Stuart Skinner who was given the hook after 40 minutes in Game 3 and has served as the back-up to Calvin Pickard the past two games. Skinner is 1-2 in the series with a 4.40 GAA and a .793 save percentage.
Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch says he has one other line-up decision to make. There is a possibility veteran winger Corey Perry will be a healthy scratch. He has no points in the first five games of this series and no points in 10 playoff appearances this spring.
Connor McDavid has been held to just one point (a power play assist in Game 4) in the last three games. Zach Hyman, who scored 54 goals in the regular season, tallied twice in the series opener but has not scored since. He does not have a point in the past three outings.
In the series so far, Draisaitl leads all players with 3+8=11 through five games. Connor McDavid (1+5), Evan Bouchard (3+3) and Brock Boeser (3+3), JT Miller (2+4) and Elias Lindholm (3+3) all have six points. Boeser, Lindholm, Draisaitl, Bouchard and Mattias Ekholm all share the series lead with three goals apiece. Vancouver is three for 16 on the power play (18.8%) while the Oilers are five for 15 (33.3%). Thursday was the first time in 10 postseason games this spring that Edmonton had not converted with the man-advantage.
If a Game 7 is required to decide this series it is set for 6pm PT on Monday night at Rogers Arena. 
 
Today’s referees: Garrett Rank & Jean Hebert (Tom Chmielewski is the stand-by official) 
Today’s broadcasters: Chris Cuthbert and Craig Simpson
 

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on how he wants his players to approach tonight’s opportunity: ‘For me, it’s always short term — your first shift, first period. You can’t think about anything else. You start letting things in your head then you start playing on your heels, you’re watching, you’re pausing. So I think you just have to worry about your first shift in the first period.”
Tocchet on what he expects from the Oilers facing elimination tonight: “This is going to be the hardest game we’re ever going to play. Until the next game — whenever that game is. That’s the way I look at it. It’s never easy. I don’t care how good you’re playing. The next game is the hardest game.”
Tyler Myers on trying to end the Oilers’ season tonight: “They’re facing elimination, so they’re going to be as desperate as we’ve seen and we have to be as hungry as we’ve been to close it out. We have a chance to do it on the road which is always fun, to do it in front of a different crowd. It’s going to be tight out there and we’re going to have to fight for every inch.”
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