Scenes from playoff practice: Illness keeps Elias Pettersson away from Canucks’ final tune-up for the Oilers

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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What we saw

There was a hole in the middle at the Vancouver Canucks final full practice ahead of the start of the team’s Round 2 playoff match-up with the Edmonton Oilers. Elias Pettersson was absent from the 45-minute on-ice session at Rogers Arena on Tuesday morning.
Following the practice, head coach Rick Tocchet explained that Pettersson was suffering from a head cold and the team opted to give him the day off. He is expected to be ready for Wednesday’s series opener. With Pettersson missing, Nils Aman served as a placeholder and slotted in on a line between Nils Höglander and Ilya Mikheyev. 
Otherwise, there were no other changes for the Canucks as they put their finishing touches on preparations for the Oilers. There was plenty of focus on the penalty kill and at one point late in practice, Tocchet along with Sergei Gonchar and Daniel and Henrik Sedin ran a make-shift power play against some of the Canucks top penalty killers.
Three goalies took part in Tuesday’s practice. All indications are that Arturs Silovs will get the Game One start against Edmonton. Silovs was not made available to the media following practice. 
The Canucks worked hard to win the division in order to have home ice advantage in the opening round and in this series, too. Despite going 27-9-5 in the regular season at Rogers Arena including a pair of early season wins over the Oilers, the Canucks managed to win just one of three games on home ice against Nashville. They will try to use home ice to its fullest advantage on Wednesday night knowing that the Oilers, as the lower seed, have to win at least one in Vancouver to take the series.
Both teams are expected to hold optional skates at Rogers Arena tomorrow ahead of the 7pm puck drop.

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on defending the Oilers vaunted power play: “The options or the set plays they have aren’t the difficult part. It’s when they beat pressure, they attack. They’re so underrated. Everybody talks about their talent, yeah, McDavid is unreal. We all know that. Their attack mentality is as good (as it gets) in the league. Once they sniff something, it’s there. Back door play, slot play, Bouchard one-timer. That can happen in one play. You have to pick your poison and give them one – hopefully the least dangerous play.”
Tocchet on whether there is a true rivalry with the Oilers: “You’re in the second round. There are only eight teams left. Edmonton is in our way and we’re in their way. That’s a rivalry to me. You can’t take this for granted. This may not happen for some guys. You might not get this chance again. So the stakes are high and that builds rivalries. You should be angry and mad and whatever it takes inside your body to get your game to that level, find it. I think that’s how you build rivalries. It could happen on the very first shift of the game, you better have it.”
Ian Cole on Canucks penalty kill and the challenge it’s going to have against the Oilers: “It’s a powerplay in the playoffs. They’re going to put their best five guys out there and they’re going to be out there for almost a full two minutes. We know that. We know our reads have to be crisp. Pucks are going to be going to the net at some point. There’s going to be some low plays and there’s going to be a lot of shots. We’re going to have to block them, we’re going to have to win battles around the net. It’s a simplified formula but it’s one that works if we can get the job done.”
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