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The Stanchies: Vancouver Canucks destroyed by Edmonton Oilers in embarrassing 5-1 loss

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
1 month ago
It feels like game seven between the Canucks and Oilers should be played at the Pacific Coliseum because then at least the roller coaster would make sense.
Yes, the ups and downs of this series continued on Saturday night in Edmonton, as the Oilers kicked the living shit out of the Vancouver Canucks to the tune of 5-1.
It was the kind of game where you struggled to know how much credit you should give the Oilers for how well they played, and how much credit you should give to Vancouver for playing a game so bad I could have sworn I was watching the Coquitlam Express.
It was the kind of game where post game questions seemed unnecessary because there’s only so many ways you can ask “So what the **** happened out there tonight?” without it starting to feel malicious.
It wasn’t just that Vancouver lost that left such a bad taste in the fan base’s mouth; it’s the way they lost. Facing off against Stuart Skinner, a man battling to the death to try and outpace Dan Cloutier’s playoff numbers, they only managed a paltry 15 shots. Natural Stat Trick listed the Canucks as having 7 high danger scoring chances and never have I been more convinced they’re dirty liars than I am now.
It was Edmonton’s big boys who showed up to play in game six, piling up the points on a Vancouver team that just didn’t seem ready for the moment. In a game that was tied after one period, it felt like the path to victory was there for Vancouver, with a nervous crowd and unsure goalie sitting there for the taking.
Instead, they ignored everything they did right in game five and became a reactive team once again, refusing to be proactive. Instead of taking the game to the Oilers, they sat back as if mentally preparing the apology text they were preparing to send Rick Tocchet post game. More worried about if they should use sad emoji faces rather than getting a shot on net.
And it continues a worrying trend for the Canucks, who once again spent an entire game making it look like getting a single shot on net might be the world’s hardest task. They had the body language of a teenager who was asked to stop playing on their phone and help do the dishes. The lowest point of the game for Vancouver had to have been the 5 on 3 powerplay they had at the end of the second period, when the game was still 3-1. They had just killed off an extended 5 on 3 of their own, so you’d think this was finally going to be their chance to come out firing.
Instead, they seemed content to cycle the puck around the outside of the middle of the ice. I don’t know if there is a team rule where they feel they have to make 8 passes before they shoot, but it sure felt like it.
And I get it, playoffs are a small sample size. Game five everything felt fantastic, and game six it’s all gloom and doom. There is a level of balance you want to achieve when analyzing a playoff series.
But if ever there was a “WTF” moment for me, it was watching the Canucks just piss away a 5 on 3 in the biggest game of their season, refusing to shoot the puck, and looking like making a single clean pass was enough of a challenge for them.
With all of that said, the Canucks own home ice for a reason. They scratched out wins down the stretch to get the last change in game 7, to give themselves any advantage they could, whether it was with matchups or crowd support.
And this team has made a habit of finding ways to respond to bad losses. They’ve done it all season. They’ve done it during the playoffs. So there’s no reason to think they can’t do the same on Monday night in the winner-take-all game.
However, at one point, your big boys have to be your big boys to help keep your playoff run going. And in game six, Edmonton’s showed up.
Now the pressure is on Vancouver to respond in kind, otherwise all we’ll have left ahead of us in May is watching videos of Rick Tocchet making spaghetti.
Best high point of the game
Nikita Zadorov coming in looking like a Dick Tracy villain felt like it was the perfect vibe for this game. You watch this and tell me you don’t think Vancouver wins this game easily.
Alas, as I found out when I tried to make the local dance squad, vibes only take you so far in life.
Best pre-game update
If ever there was a teaser for what the team was about to do…
Best soft interference
There was a time when the league saw all the hooking and holding in the NHL and decided to crack down on it coming out of the lockout. It opened up the game tremendously and it’s what gave us a Bryan McCabe 68 point season.
And I don’t know if the NHL is ever going to do the same to clamp down on soft interference and picks, but the discussion around it from the outside is picking up steam.
We saw it last game with Dakota Joshua skating into the way of Connor McDavid and getting called, and we saw it tonight with Leon Draisaitl taking out Conor Garland:
With Dakota, McDavid went full Soulja Boy to sell it, and with Draisaitl it was Garland selling the contact like he was just given an NEW tryout.
But there is a level of play now in the NHL where teams don’t have to hook anymore, you just need to skate fast enough to get in skating lanes. To disrupt their route, to make them have to go at an angle, thus using the power of math to take away their quickest route to the puck. The ol’ Bart Simpson “I’m just going to walk in a straight line punching my arms and if I happen to hit you, that’s not my fault.” technique.
Both teams are very proficient at it, and it has been on display a lot during this series.
Aside from that, though, this game also had the old fashioned “no one makes me bleed my own blood” angry scuffles:
JT Miller has that Happy Gilmore energy where I think him getting hit in the face just brings out the best in him, so he had no problem taking a late whack at Stuart’s glove to get his BDSM kink going.
Best not quite
I, too, thought booing Nikita Zadorov would only make him stronger, but perhaps he is waiting for game 7 to unleash his James Bond villain-level weapon of mass destruction on Edmonton.
The sad thing about this article tonight is this clip I am about to show is one of the most positive things to happen on the night:
Yes, that is Ian Cole skating back hard to break up an offensive rush from the Edmonton Oilers.
I feel like most of these clips have the energy of those pamphlet guys in Vegas flicking their stack of adult entertainment cards, where I don’t even want to make eye contact with you as I try and hand out my wares.
Best slow start
Quinn Hughes did not have a great night. For Quinn Hughes, that is.
He still played 26 minutes for the Canucks. He was still their best defenseman on the night.
But the bar for Quinn Hughes means has has an offensive impact as well, and on this night he was a non-factor.
In fact the biggest play of the night for him was this miscue with Elias Pettersson that led to the first Oilers goal:
Now I am not saying Dylan Holloway isn’t a good player, but when you make him look like Connor McDavid on a goal, you’ve probably made a huge mistake.
Bouchard gets the first of his three points on the night by simply letting Leon Draisaitl pass the puck to Holloway.
Holloway then skated right past Elias Pettersson, who tries to angle Dylan off but loses the foot race.
Everything is still fine at this moment, but Quinn Hughes plays the puck as if he’s 100% sure EP40 is going to angle that play into the glass. So he jumps up to try and go full New Age Outlaws on Holloway by stepping up aggressively, but Dylan has beaten Elias by this point, so he’s seen everything. He then skates in and makes a fantastic move on Arturs Silovs to make it 1-0 Edmonton.
On one hand I admire the belief Quinn Hughes had in Elias Pettersson’s defensive abilities on this play. I would love it if I had a friend just assumed I was going to absolutely nail the Beef Wellington I was making so they didn’t bother sneaking in a pre-dinner meal “just in case”.
But on the other hand it’s a pretty big mistake to make in a game that has everything on the line.
Again, you give Quinn Hughes credit for making the right decision 95% of the time.
But if we’re going to roast Ian Cole like a marshmallow, Quinn has to take the heat on occasion as well.
Best there was a time…
See, everything WAS fine, a least for a few moments:
Nils Höglander makes a strong zone entry, then dishes it off to EP40, who then finds Nils alone in front, who then fights hard to make sure he scores and doesn’t end up staring at a post wondering why God hates him.
This right here is where the game felt like it was there for the taking. The Oilers had opened the scoring, the crowd was going wild, only to see Vancouver score rather quickly. The atmosphere was dead after this and the Oilers had to be thinking “uh oh” at this point.
This is where the Canucks needed to put the pressure on Edmonton, but instead, they struggled to get four shots to end the period.
Best meme
 
Best alternate universe theory
Though maybe in another world, Pius Suter scores on this play and the Canucks go on to win 5-1:
Pew Pew, as he is wont to do, shoots the puck through the crease and can’t quite get the angle on the shot he wanted.
Once again, the Canucks struggle to score goals in the playoffs has taken center stage, and we can no longer blame it on “Nashville gonna Nashville.”
Best make it look pretty damn it
The Canucks’ powerplay failed on the night in the ways we know off by heart: Not enough shots, too many passes, then praying a point shot somehow bounces in.
Their best chance on the night was probably on this play:
Again, the passing is a little too fancy. You watch the Canucks’ powerplay and you get a bit of a crush on it because it’s too cute half the time.
And hey, maybe if Suter scores on the earlier play. Maybe if the Canucks score on this play down low to the Elias Squad. Maybe if that happens my parents don’t get a divorce and I grow up knowing what an actual support system looks like.
But that’s not how life played out. The Canucks once again couldn’t not score a goal on the powerplay. Worse, they didn’t even generate shots on it. People are going to talk about a game in which Stuart Skinner stopped 14 of 15 shots and ask “IS HE BACK??” as if he was tested in any way shape or form in this game.
The fact Vancouver didn’t put pressure on Skinner is honestly an inexcusable performance from the team.
Best big boys play here
Leon Draisaitl has looked like a much bigger threat than Connor during this series, and early on he was gifted a glorious chance to make it 2-1:
Alas, Leon squandered away this chance worse than that bet Evander placed on game 1 of the 1919 World Series.
You’ll notice Edmonton stepping up and forechecking and applying a lot of pressure to Vancouver, something the Canucks used to their advantage in game five. There was never any flow to the game for Vancouver because they lost the battle of willpower with Edmonton, getting beat to the puck and not wanting to step up and fight for board battles.
This resulted in next to no sustained pressure from Vancouver. No clean zone exits. No confidence in their game. Even when they had clean looks the players were bobbling the pucks and not making any crisp plays.
Apparently taking your own medicine does not taste very good, as Vancouver found out on Saturday.
Best if it worked once…
Elias Lindholm did indeed try to go full Garland but he learned a lesson:
You might think it’s easy to come up with a ride as reliable as a Corolla, but that is no small feat.
The main reason this didn’t work is you have to do the full fake clapper. Just angling out your wrists to change direction on the shot, that can work, but if you really want the goalie to buy it you have to go all in.
Make him think you’re about to send the hardest piss missile you’ve ever taken in your life; that’s what gets the goalies to commit to the shot and then have to open their five-hole to slide over once they realize you lied and deceived them.
Stuart Skinner has trust issues because of what Garland did to him. You have to lean on those. Whisper to him that you can’t fully trust anyone in this world, not even yourself. Get into his head, then get into his net.
Best irony
The most entertaining part of the game was when Connor McDavid jumped up in the crease and ended up colliding with Silovs on a disallowed goal to end the period:
In a normal world, that’s clearly Connor skating into the blue paint, and then the Canucks not letting him out. McDavid jumps to avoid getting hit by the puck because he doesn’t like ouchies, and Silovs does his best Nic Cage impersonation to sell said contact.
It’s honestly a pretty easy goal to wave off because McDavid starts everything in play by skating into the crease. Which is something the NHL agreed with as it was quickly called no goal. And Edmonton didn’t bother fighting it because that’s a pretty clear cut call.
But if you’re Vancouver, Edmonton has taught us to call the rules to the letter of the law, which means jumping into an opponent in any situation should clearly be charging. Rule 42 has never been copy and pasted by a fan base harder than it was during game five, so we all know it off by heart now.
You jump, you’re a criminal, that’s the Oilers way.
But if you’re Craig Simpson, Teddy Blueger put a saddle on Connor and rode him to pound town, showing him into his own goal as poor McDavid did his best to try and jump himself out of the situation:
Poor Connor was trying to jump out of the way to save orphans or something? I’m not quite sure.
The point is I love the playoffs and the stupid trash talking that comes with it.
Best Raffi on Raffi crime
 
Best letting them play
I honestly had no issue with the officiating on the night. My least favorite thing is pulling one guy from a scrum and giving a penalty, so it was refreshing to see the officials just let the two teams hammer away at each other in one on one battles:
JT Miller clearly gives as good as he gets, so this is a good non-call on his battle with Evan Bouchard.
Best grinding it out
Hey, this loss wasn’t Ian Cole’s fault, another silver lining for people out there:
We’re officially at the point where I will assume everyone is injured just to save myself time for having to wait and see which agents have texted Rick to try and get some heat off their clients.
That being said, this is official proof that Ian Cole can block shots and not deflect them into his net.
Best audible fart goal
The Oilers second goal was a breakdown in coverage:
The Canucks just sort of forget about Zach Hyman, which seems like a bad strategy to use on a 50 goal scorer, but what do I know.
Even then the goal ends up being a bit of a weird one because Hyman struggles to get the shot off, but that delay throws off Tyler Myers who is full on frozen in a shot blocking animation, and Silovs then has trouble getting a read on the shot and so it ends up hitting him and floating over top of him and into the net.
Then you have Brock Boeser doing a fly by stick lift instead of just clamping down on Hyman. You see him actually move in to cover Hyman but he oddly goes for a stick lift then skates out of the play. If Brock just skates and sticks to Hyman he probably stops that shot from getting off.
I don’t think it’s how Edmonton drew up that play, but that’s what happens when you take more than one shot every 10 minutes. You create your own luck by driving play and creating multiple scoring chances in a game. I know, this sounds like cutting edge mind blowing strategies, but I promise you it works.
Best tilting ice
Yeah if you want the story of this game, it was that after one period the Canucks folded like a cheap tent you ordered off of Amazon.
Remember that 2011 Finals game seven vibe where you watched a team that just seemed to have no answers for what was happening their lives? That’s what this game felt like. You started off watching your Canucks go off to college but before long they showed up asking if they could crash on your couch in the basement because “School ended a couple months early” and oh yeah, could they borrow a couple hundred bucks because their bank app hasn’t been working properly, but they’re good for it, they promise.
Best foot on throat
The Oilers then score their third goal on an absolute blast of a shot from Evan Bouchard:
You’ll notice the usual trends on this goal, with the Canucks chasing the puck and losing every battle for it, until they’re eventually chasing the play so much they fall behind in coverage, allowing a point shot with plenty of time.
Part of you kind of wishes Siloves was out further to block the angle on this shot, but then another part of you appreciates how Bouchard almost has to go post in to get this goal.
Sometimes good shots go in, it’s once again more about how many times you give a team to make those shots that matters, because at this point the game was 3-1 and the Canucks were unable to generate a single shot let alone a goal.
Best sign of the times
You want an example of the Canucks offensive pressure? I hope you have a good gag reflex because this will make you dry heave:
The Canucks finally get the puck to the point and Tyler Myers winds up, hesitates, and watches as zero Canucks go to the net. He then gives up waiting and then tries a slap pass down low that doesn’t even make it near the net, because that long delay allowed an Oiler to get in the shooting lane.
This was why the game was so frustrating. You just watched this team in game five outwork and out chance their opponent only to turn around to watch Tyler Myers spending a couple of months debate when to try out a slap pass to nobody.
Not the most inspiring offense. It’s the same feeling people get watching me roll up to pick up games of basketball where I just start launching threes all night. It feels like there has to be better options.
Best liar
One of the penalties on the 5 on 3 was due to this high stick:
Now, nobody denies that’s a penalty. That’s clear as day, Joshua rakes Hyman’s face with his stick.
But the dive afterwards, my goodness. We’re lucky Ron MacLean isn’t here to mind read that Hyman is saying when he peaks up to make sure he got the call, but oh man. That sell job makes Dolph Ziggler looked restrained.
Tossing the stuck, arms flailing and falling to the ice, then taking a quick glance to make sure mom caught it. He honestly should go full WWE and just hide a razor blade in his glove so can get color on demand. Leave that trail of blood on the ice behind you as you throw yourself to the ice, sliding into the boards like you just visited a Texas book depository.
What a sequence.
Best chance for a comeback
Notice how I don’t have a clip for you? Because the powerplay didn’t matter.
They didn’t do anything with it. Didn’t generate good shots. Didn’t generate good chances.
Nothing.
Just totally squandered.
Nathan Fielder didn’t go to game five just to turn around and watch this effort, what are we doing here.
Best meanwhile in Arizona
Best meanwhile at Rogers Arena
 
Best more of the same
The Oilers started the third period off like they did in the second, generating offensive pressure by winning puck battles:
Complete lack of urgency from Vancouver on display for you right there. Might as well be playing at 8 rinks at this point in the game. Making sure someone brought the beer is more important than winning the races for the puck.
Best consequences of actions
People might talk about how well Silovs played in this game, but he wasn’t the problem. You struggle to get more than 10 shots five minutes into the third period, the team is the main issue:
Carson Soucy loses his man, Myers can’t cut off the pass, and there is Connor McDavid’s third primary assist on the night.
A lot was made of how well JT Miller has shut down McDavid in this series, and it’s true, he’s done a hell of a job.
But you are playing with fire in a long series if you don’t think McDavid will have at least one game where he starts teabagging the score sheet. Game six was that game.
Best third period chance
This was literally the Canucks best chance in the third period:
A point shot that Suter tips, where not a single soul is blocking Skinner’s eyes. Just tipping in a soft long bomb from the point.
This was truly the part of the game where I had to remind myself I get paid to watch and write about hockey, so I kept the TV on, because after watching that shot attempt you knew the Canucks had given up. Just no pushback at all from them after the first period onwards.
Best speaking of eyes
Watch Skinner make that save on the easiest tip of his life, then watch Silovs get scored on through between 4-78 bodies:
It was garbage time so Vancouver had clearly checked out at this point, but the fact remains Edmonton dragged Vancouver harder than any verse in Not Like Us.
Three Canuck players don’t even move after the faceoff loss. They just stand around wondering why Edmonton is still scoring goals, don’t they realize everyone has to work tomorrow? Relax, it’s just beer league, guys, it’s not the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Best I’m just here so I don’t get fined
I just needed proof that I watched this game until the end so Quadrelli doesn’t accuse me of not doing my job:
Hey look, Zadorov and Kane don’t like each other. Neat.
Best end result
That pretty much speaks for itself.
Edmonton showed up.
Vancouver didn’t.
Now it’s down to one game to see who takes this series.
Will Vancouver’s big boys step up to the plate and deliver the first game seven win on home ice since slaying the dragon?
Or will national media live out it’s wildest fantasy and watch Edmonton complete the come back?
We’ll find out Monday.

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