Scenes from Rogers Arena: Boeser injury news dominates morning of Game 7 between Canucks and Oilers

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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One game. Winner takes all. This best of seven second round series between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers comes down to this. Game 7 goes at 6pm Pacific time tonight at Rogers Arena. 

What we saw

With the stakes so high and their season hanging in the balance, the Vancouver Canucks held a team meeting at Rogers Arena this morning, but only a handful of players took to the ice. They were the ones expected to be healthy scratches for tonight’s game.
All the talk at the rink this morning was about Sunday’s bombshell news that Canucks will be without leading goal scorer Brock Boeser who has been ruled out with a blood clot. Boeser, who scored 40 goals in the regular season, has seven of the team’s 31 postseason goals and shares the team lead in scoring with JT Miller with 12 points apiece. He has three goals in this series, including a pair in Game 3.
Tocchet didn’t reveal much about Boeser’s diagnosis other than to say he became aware of the issue late Sunday morning before the team practiced on home ice. Yesterday, the coach said Boeser was merely taking a maintenance day. But then Rink Wide Vancouver’s Irfaan Gaffar broke the news on X late Sunday afternoon. Today Tocchet said he would discuss the nature and extent Boeser’s injury ‘down the road.’
With Boeser out, Rick Tocchet will have to make significant changes to his lineup. The coach wouldn’t divulge line combinations when he met the media this morning, but he did confirm that Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Lafferty will return to the lineup while Vasily Podkolzin comes out.
Tocchet also confirmed Arturs Silovs will make his 10th consecutive playoff start since taking over the net for Game 4 in the first round against Nashville. Silovs is 5-4 in the postseason with a 2.89 GAA and a .898 save percentage. Tonight will put Silovs in the unique position of playing more in the playoffs (10 games) than the regular season (9) in his brief NHL career. 
Veteran blueliner Ian Cole is set to appear in the ninth Game 7 of his career with his fifth different franchise. He is 4-4 in the previous eight with the Hurricanes, Wild, Avalanche and Penguins. JT Miller has played in four Games 7 while Tyler Myers and Nikita Zadorov have each appeared in three.
As a franchise, the Canucks have been blanked in their past two Game 7 appearances – 3–0 by Vegas in the 2020 bubble and 4-0 by Boston in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The last Game 7 goal scored by a Canuck was Alex Burrows dragon slayer to eliminate Chicago in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs.
The Oilers evened the series with a 5-1 victory on home ice on Saturday. Dylan Holloway, Zach Hyman, Evan Bouchard, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Evander Kane scored the Edmonton goals. Connor McDavid had three primary assists. Stuart Skinner made 14 saves as he returned to the Oiler net after being replaced by Calvin Pickard for Games 4 and 5. Skinner will get the Game 7 start tonight.
The Oilers have opened the scoring in five of the six games of this series including each of the past four games. The lone time the Canucks got on the scoreboard first was Game 2 on an Elias Pettersson power play goal. The team that has scored first has won just two of the six games in the series (Game 4 & Game 6).
After the teams combined for seven power play goals in the first three games of this series, there has been only one power play goal in the past three games of this battle. Leon Draisaitl’s first period power play marker in Game 4 was the last time either team cashed in with the man-advantage. Both teams had 5-on-3 power plays on Saturday night but neither converted.
In the series so far, Draisaitl leads all players with 3+10=13 through six games. Connor McDavid (1+8) and Evan Bouchard (4+5) each have nine points while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 2+6=8. Brock Boeser (3+3), JT Miller (2+4) and Elias Lindholm (3+3) all share the Canucks team lead with six points. Bouchard leads the series with four goals including a pair of game winners. Vancouver is three for 20 on the power play (15%) while the Oilers are five for 18 (27.8%). 
Tonight’s winner will advance to the Western Conference Final which starts on Thursday in Dallas. 
Today’s referees: Chris Rooney & Jean Hebert (Garrett Rank is the stand-by official) 
Today’s broadcasters: Chris Cuthbert and Craig Simpson
Today’s anthem: Elizabeth Irving

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on the hole Brock Boeser’s absence leaves in Canucks lin-up: “Obviously had a great year for us, big part of the team and he scored some big goals for us, so it’s a tough one. But next man up, that’s the way you’ve got to approach it like we have all year.”
Tocchet on opportunity presenting itself for others with Boeser out: “Obviously it’s tough to replace his goal scoring. Guys like Mikheyev and Lafferty have to provide us with good defence, but can they chip in with a goal and play a hard game for us? They’ve got some legs tonight. We’re looking at two guys coming in and they’re going to hopefully give us some really good juice.”
Dakota Joshua on using Boeser’s injury as inspiration tonight: “It’s a very tough situation and you hate to see it. He’s our longest-tenured Canuck. But it just adds all the more fuel to the fire to get this done for him. No one is cheering us on more than him tonight. And we don’t want to let him down so we’ll be battling for him out there.”
Tyler Myers on the thrill of playing in Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Playoff series: “Be excited and leave it all out there. Game 7, it’s the best game in hockey. For our group, we’ve had some guys that have had some experience in games like this and they’re a lot of fun. It’s a great time of year. It’s down to a one game series and we’re very excited for it.”
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