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The Stanchies: The Zadorov chronicles, Garland’s reliability, and JT Miller’s deft tip

NHL betting preview for tonight's Game 2, all-Canadian matchup between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
1 month ago
The second-round matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks was always going to be an intense one. We knew it would be, what with it involving two Canadian teams.
This era of social media also ensures that both fan bases will be up in arms with each other almost as much as the teams themselves. From a child cursing out the Oilers, all the way to a healthy debate about which fan made song tanked their teams chances at winning the most, it’s starting to feel like we finally found something that might put Kendrick and Drake in the back seat for a few days.
And there’s this weird idea that the country will come together to unite under one banner as long as it means the Stanley Cup comes home. That no matter who emerges from this showdown, that Canada will get behind the remaining Canadian team in the quest for the Cup.
It’s bullshit, of course.
If 2011 taught us anything, it’s that it’s every man, woman and child for themselves in the race for Lord Stanley’s favourite coffee mug.
Yes, if ever there was a Game of Thrones on ice, it would not be the battle for a throne, but the battle to be THE team in Canada to bring the Stanley Cup back to its place of birth. Winning the ultimate prize in hockey AND getting to lord it over every other Canadian fan base? That’s the dream right there.
Remember, 1993 was the last time a Canadian team won the Cup. It’s been 30 years since a city north of the border could secure bragging rights. And 1993? That was a long time ago. A lot of fans don’t even know what it’s like to see a Canadian team bragging about a Cup win. Which means a lot of people live in anticipation of winning the Cup but also with the horrifying specter of watching another Canadian fan base experiencing it before them.
Back in 1993, you had to use a dial-up modem and try to find a message board if you wanted to shit-talk another person about their team. Go back further, back when the Edmonton Oilers were ripping up the league, and you’d see some of it on CBC, but as long as you ignored the newspaper box on the corner, you could live in blissful ignorance of a world in which Mark Messier was getting to experience happiness.
Today? The amount of social media that will consume this country when a Canadian team finally wins the Cup will be astronomical. There will be no avoiding it. All you can do is try and move to a place that has no electricity, preferably one that looks like it’s still living in the 80s, where getting a mullet is considered a real “corporate boardroom power move.” So, I guess Edmonton would work.
But we are getting way, way ahead of ourselves. A second-round matchup is light years away from becoming anything close to having names etched on a Cup.
I only bring it up to showcase the levels of emotion behind this match up. Two fan bases living and dying with their teams, made even more intense by the fact the stupid neighbour across the street might end up winning the day.
And during game one between these two teams, it felt like Edmonton was going to win the first game easily. Up 4-1 over the Canucks, with the legendary status of Artūrs Šilovs fading by the second. And it made sense if you listened to the pundits. Many of them felt Vancouver had no chance in this series, and if anything, they were being nice by saying it might take Edmonton six games to close this one out.
But a funny thing happened on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena. These Canucks? They didn’t seem to fazed by any of that. Much like against Nashville, they were able to cut out the noise. They were able to keep focus. And they were able to mount another miraculous comeback, securing a 5-4 victory over Edmonton.
And hey, maybe those pundits are right. Maybe Edmonton still takes this series. Maybe they find their groove, and the Canucks try their best, but the Oilers end up prevailing.
But for a team that many people counted out, the Canucks looked anything but lost against this Oilers team. Even when they were down 4-1, it felt like the game was winnable. Not just winnable, but you almost expected the Canucks to come back from it.
Maybe it was from being forged in fire against Nashville. Maybe playing games in which getting a shot on net felt like an accomplishment, much less a goal, that gave the Canucks the mental edge on the night.
All we know is the Canucks are up 1-0, and this series looks like anything but a cakewalk for Edmonton.
To quote a wise man, Christian Cage, “I hate to break it to you, Edmonton, there won’t be any championship this year…I can’t wait to watch the Canucks stomp the Edmonton Oilers.”
Best let’s get this Arty Party started
Rick Tocchet made it a point leading up to the series to talk about how the Canucks needed to stay off of the penalty kill in order to give themselves the best chance to beat the Oilers. Apparently giving Connor McDavid and friends time and space isn’t the greatest strategy, or so the random guy on the Skytrain insisted upon telling me in great detail on the way to the game.
Which as any Canucks fan can tell was 100% an indicator that the team would do everything in their power to get penalized as quickly as possible, as is tradition. Nobody makes Vancouver bleed their own blood, damn it.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Vancouver taking a too many men penalty just minutes into the game.
It was equally as unsurprising to see the Oilers cash in on that powerplay:
As Jeff Paterson said beside me, “Hey, at least McDavid didn’t score,” which sometimes you have to grasp at those silver linings in life. I might not be able to afford a home in Vancouver, but at least I have Dude Chilling Park to relax in, and my city’s main attraction isn’t a mall that’s pretty big.
Now, the Oilers can apparently enter the Matrix with the extra man, slowing time down until they find a look on net they like. And for some reason, Edmonton loves these tight one-timers from the corners. Leon Draisaitl can hit lasers from seemingly behind the net using wall hacks, but in this case, Zach Hyman had an easier look to cash in the Oilers’ first goal.
Artūrs Šilovs didn’t have much of a chance on this shot, but I still think it’s worth keeping an eye on how he handles cross-crease action. Against Nashville, it was a lot of north/south shots on net, which he did very well with. He stopped shots, made some fancy glove saves, and wore a really neat Hugo Boss shirt, the holy trinity of any goalie’s night.
But earlier in the season when Šilovs played, it did feel like he didn’t slide across his crease in the traditional way Thatcher Demko does. Instead of sliding from post to post, you’d see him turn rather than slide. Instead of going neatly post to post, he’d enter some sort of high fashion swagger mode and try and slap the puck out of the air with his stick.
Which if that works? Man, that’s going to sell a lot of shirts. But when it doesn’t, he sort of looks like he’s on an island by himself, turning to watch the inevitable march towards death we’re all on.
Again, he didn’t have much of a chance on this goal, but part of you wondered if he committed a little hard on facing down Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Notice how I said “this” goal.
This is what we in the business call “breadcrumbs.”
It’s also what pigeons call a good time. Shout out to all my palomas out there.
Best learning their lesson
The good news is that the Canucks only gave the Oilers one powerplay in the game. For a team that has struggled to keep its composure at times in the playoffs, the Canucks did the damn thing and stayed out of the box the rest of the night (aside from some off-setting penalties).
Best foreplay
The Canucks best chance early on? Corolla Garland got himself free for this nifty little breakaway:
Now, did he score? No. In fact it looked like he lost the handle on the puck a little bit and then, to quote Jim Benning, simply ran out of time.
But what have we said all season long about Garland? Why is his name Corolla? Because it might not be pretty, but at the end of the day, he always gets you where you need to be.
You have to be patient and kind with a Corolla. It might not get all the looks on Robson Street that the jacked up kids in their Lambos go for, but real ones see a Corolla and respect the durability and mileage on display.
Enjoy inching over those speed bumps in your low to the ground sports car while we’re out here flying over them at a healthy 10 clicks.
Best it’s only going to get worse
The Canucks were down a goal, but you know who just wants to go out and land thundering hits? Carson Soucy:
Not since Dan Hamhuis have we seen hips that refuse to lie like this.
I will say that after watching the Matt Bartkowski’s and Derrick Pouliot’s of the world come through this city, there is something comforting about watching the Canucks stockpile a healthy amount of big boys for the back end.
I will go to war with Troy Stecher any day of the week, but watching Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Myers, Carson Soucy, Noah Juulsen and Ian Cole just be big bags of meat out on the ice? It’s downright inspiring.
Again, you need the right kind of big. Erik Gudbranson was the wrong kind of big.
But when you find the right mix on the back end? That shit pays off in the playoffs.
Best defending the motherland
You know what doesn’t happen nearly as much with the Canucks anymore? Players trying to take liberties near the Canucks crease:
Nikita Zadorov is the main reason for this. Carson Soucy and Tyler Myers have their moments of course, but Zadorov? That guy is the ultimate ride or die teammate. Someone looks at one of his boys funny, and he’s out here ready to throw down and break a bottle over someone’s head.
Evander Kane? He didn’t do very much more of this on the night, and you have to think a lot of that is because when there is a large Russian laughing and looking downright pleased that he’s about to punch you, that probably makes you think twice. Punching Zadorov only seems to make him grow in power.
Best glimpse of the potential
Now, after the Oilers went up 4-1 on the night, it literally looked like they left the game and went home. So we didn’t see a ton of Edmonton offence on display on the night. In fact, the majority of their goals just sort of…went in. It didn’t feel like they broke the Canucks down in a special way, it just felt like Šilovs guessed wrong on three of the goals.
But you could see glimpses of the Oilers cycle game on display early on, like in this clip where they keep rotating the puck until Pius Suter loses his guy on a switch:
The Oilers can get very methodical in the offensive zone and at times it feels Sedin like in their approach to the game. Cycle, cycle, cycle until the other team breaks down, then charge to the net.
That being said, the Canucks held the Oilers offence in neutral most of the night. It’s not often a team is up 4-1 and you’re sitting there confident that the team can come back, but that’s where you found yourself. Nothing Edmonton did on the night felt big.
Connor McDavid didn’t have any superstar moments. Leon Draisaitl, injured or not, was not a factor in the game. Zach Hyman was the best of the bunch and even his goals felt like that kid from Surrey might have been right.
And a lot of that is due to the Canucks stepping up and shutting them down. I am sure Edmonton will frame this as them losing the game, and not so much the Canucks winning, and I get that. Sometimes when you live in Edmonton you question if “living” is the right word, so sometimes life can feel complicated.
But I still think you have to give the Canucks credit for shutting down what has been a very potent offence from the Edmonton Oilers.
Best it actually happened
I just wanted to have proof that Filip Hronek wound up and took a slapshot instead of looking for a back door tap in:
Now, later in the game, Hronek would revert to looking for back door tap ins. He’d fire his piss missile and pray someone was going to tip in a 100mph puck, as is tradition. It’s gotten to the point where it’s impressive how much he has leaned into a strategy that feels like it hasn’t worked for him in thirteen years.
But for one glorious moment, he took a clapper on net, and that deserves a round of applause.
Best bad returns
Like any first date, it’s best to not go down too early, but that’s where Vancouver found itself near the end of the first period:
You’ll notice Ian Cole make a bank pass right to Leon Draisaitl. It’s actually the perfect pass, all things considered, and I’m kind of surprised Draisaitl didn’t offer him a fist bump.
Leon then finds Mattias Ekholm at the point, who simply puts the puck on net and scores. Three Canucks lined up to block the shot, including Ian Cole, and all three miss it. The puck beats Brock Boeser and Pius Suter before beating Šilovs, while Ian Cole watches on in sadness.
This was not a good game for Ian Cole.
He was unable to kill the penalty on the first goal. And you might be saying “Wyatt, don’t be mean to Ian, that Oilers powerplay is incredible.” And that’s fair, but Ian Cole also skated really hard moments earlier to try and get a shorthanded 2 on 1 going, which drained his gas tank.
If you’re Ian Cole, your first thought when getting the puck shorthanded should be, “How can I get this puck to the corner and where is the nearest oxygen tank,” and not, “Man I bet I could get a 2-on-1 and go top cheddar where Mom keeps the dream journal of that trip she never took to Paris.”
You see, Ian Cole does not have a very large gas tank. He might not even have a gas tank at this point. He’s an E-Scooter you forgot to charge up the night before and now you’re just praying he can get you halfway to campus.
On the second goal, the same thing happened, he made an offensive zone pinch, and ended up having to skate really hard to get back. Being dead tired leads to bad passes. It leads to you standing beside your goalie, whispering his name, urging him to stop the puck so you don’t end up being featured in the Stanchies.
Ian Cole can be a very effective defenceman. When he plays within his boundaries.
When he tries to do too much out there? That’s when he gets into trouble.
But please note the easy nature of the Edmonton goal. The Canucks literally gave Edmonton a goal. This was not a situation where the Oilers were breaking Vancouver down, they just sort of ended up with a goal. At no point did you feel like Vancouver didn’t belong in this one.
Best posting online
I don’t even register Ilya Mikheyev anymore. Like I know he exists. I see him skate really hard. I see him get the puck. But at no point do I ever think he’s going to score a goal. It’s just something that doesn’t happen, and I’ve accepted it. Even if he hits a post, you don’t feel frustrated; you just sort of shrug and go, “Yup, sounds about right.”:
This was probably the highlight of the Elias Pettersson line on the night? EP40 had a solid shot on net during a powerplay, but other than that, they were perfectly cromulent?
Defensively they aren’t an issue, and in fact are quite solid at winning their matchups. But holy hell does this ever feel like the old days with Loui Eriksson where we’re applauding them beating out an icing, or finding a way to get the puck out of their zone. We are officially in a “little things” period for this line.
And it’s not just EP40, he’s just the guy getting paid the most. Nils Höglander has been, as my grade 11 physics teacher once told me “stunningly mediocre” during these playoffs. I don’t think anyone expected him to fly along scoring at a 25% shooting percentage, but his play has dropped off considerably since the end of the season. He just seems a half second off in everything he does, along with the complete disappearance of his physical game.
Then you have Ilya Mikheyev on the line who last scored when Blockbuster and Video Update were going to war on Broadway, and it’s no wonder they’re struggling as a group.
They’ve gone from N’Sync to 98 Degrees, and nobody wants to see that.
Best just keep it consistent
Brock Boeser was slashed/tapped to the back of the leg as the period came to an end, and it either really really hurt or he decided to sell it like Dolph Ziggler:
Now, I don’t care about debating if Brock was actually hurt on that slash. Did he sell it? Did it really crumple his body? Don’t care. His hair looks fantastic either way.
The only thing I really care about is not seeing a player get slashed like that later in the game and it suddenly becoming a penalty. And to the officials credit, and I can’t believe I get to write this, they were remarkably consistent in this game.
That last Nashville game where Garland got smoked with a cross-check, only for the officials to call a lesser cross check penalty on Elias Lindholm? That’s the bush league stuff I cannot stand. That’s where you can feel the slimy cold hand of game management all over the ice. Sometimes you can almost smell Kelly Sutherland’s garlicky breath on your face as he waits to make a call in a game.
But on Wednesday night, the officials let things go and didn’t make a call for the sake of making a call. I would have bet money that they were going to game manage a penalty to the Canucks in the last minute of the game, but they didn’t. I was actually very confused to the point that I turned to Fin and asked if I had missed a whistle.
Just kidding, the only thing I’d ever ask Fin is what is it like knowing you’re consistently holding this team back from being the best it can be in terms of in arena entertainment. Then he’d try and bite my head, and we’d laugh, but his laugh would be a hollow one. The kind of laugh that belies a deep sadness inside, knowing that you’ve run out of tricks, and you’re just praying nobody notices.
Best revving the engine
Dakota Joshua, Elias Lindholm and Conor Garland all scored goals in this game, which was a stark comparison to what EP40’s line did on the night.
And two of their goals came from simply out-working the shit out of the Oilers. But one of their goals came from an Ian Cole point shot that bounced juuuuuust right:
The redemption tour for Ian Cole started and ended with this play, but for that short period of time, it was glorious.
I don’t know how many of these kinds of shots we saw Juuse Saros stop last round, but it felt like over twenty. Anytime a puck would bounce out in front onto a Canuck stick, Saros’ damn athletic legs would be right there to stop it. Pius Suter alone probably wakes up screaming at the thought of mustard coloured goalie pads flying at him.
Which brings up a fun point this round. The Canucks aren’t facing a top goalie in the league like they did in Juuse Saros. They are facing Stuart Skinner, a goalie who can certainly win you games, but also one who can very much lose you games. He looked so slow on this goal compared to the lightning kicks Saros threw the Canucks way all series long in round one. Stuart trying to get to the other side of the net looked like your Dad reaching across the table to try and reach the salt.
For all the guff Šilovs got in the first half of this game, it’s worth remembering that the Oilers don’t have a decided edge in net, despite having their starter playing.
Best whoops
18:12 Mikheyev shot
I had a note to clip his shot, but I honestly didn’t have the heart to track it down.
I’m sure it happened. I’m sure it hit the goalie.
Best cracks in the foundation
Stuart Skinner got the rare “Don’t touch the puck in the no-no zone” for goalies when he first fell on his face and then tried to play the puck from his knees:
Not a single Canuck player is near Skinner on this dump in, but he panics and shoves the puck in the trapezoid after he falls, which is highly illegal because a while ago, Marty Turco and Marty Brodeur were good at handling the puck. So because of the Martys, we live with one of the dumbest rules in sports, thus proving my point that the only good Marty is a….ok my stance isn’t quite that strong on people named Marty, but you know you’re not good people.
But it is a rule, and if the Canucks didn’t have a powerplay they bought off of Craigslist, this might have ended up hurting the Oilers. But much like the Nashville series, the Canucks opposition got the better chances when the Canucks had the extra man.
Best PDG palette cleanser
Leon Draisaitl thought he could take on the Professor of Pressure in Philly Di Giuseppe one on one and win??
Aside from being the name I have to Google the most, Phil is quite adapt at winning these types of battles. Especially if your ankle is janked and you can’t make any quick cuts on the ice.
Best how did we get here
The most visually amusing moment of the game, aside from Stuart Skinner taking a knee after the fifth goal, was when Ekholm’s stick got caught up in Dakota Joshua’s helmet:
People were comparing it to Brock Boeser’s penalty in Nashville, but I didn’t like that penalty at the time, and I was fine with this not being called.
This felt like nothing more than a follow through with the added bonus of giving us a freeze frame of Joshua getting to live out a Steve Martin moment.
Best a game of inches
The Canucks actually almost tied the game up on a Sam Lafferty adventure to the net:
The puck bounced around, Skinner kicked and flailed at it, and a goal was prevented. It was one of the last times Skinner made something resembling a save, so make sure to savor it.
All of which led to…
Best Ian Cole’s no good day continues
Ian Cole tried to bat down a puck, and ended up high in the play.
To his credit, he skated back hard, but ended up tipping the puck past his own goalie:
I’ve watched Winter Soldier. You cannot tell me that someone wasn’t screaming “Longing,” “rusted,” “furnace,” “daybreak,” “seventeen,” “benign,” “nine,” “homecoming,” “one,” and “freight car” at him from the other bench.
I don’t know when they got into his brain, but I do know the Oilers activated Ian Cole at some point in this game.
Now, should Ian Cole be taken to task for this game? He would be the first to admit he was awful on the night. You absolutely should be ashamed of what he did out there. He deserves you turning to the side and scoffing loudly.
But he is also coming off of a first-round series in which he and Zadorov were one of the best defensive pairings in the playoffs.
I get it, Ian Cole can have bad games. And slow skating d-men tend to have the ugliest of games.
But he can also be someone that can win in the trenches for you, much like he was when he punched away a puck that had just deflected off of Tyler Myers’ balls.
He is also someone that works well with Nikita Zadorov, and can be a calming presence beside him.
No one is saying he’s an all-star or irreplaceable, but he’s also been a part of this team’s success this season, bad nights and all.
Best turning point
This was the part of the game that I was most intrigued by:
Zach Hyman scores a goal the worst goal of the night here, making it four goals Šilovs has let in so far. If ever there was a time in which you might ponder putting in Casey DeSmith, this would be it. And I don’t think anyone would have blamed Tocchet had he done that.
The kid had a bad night, you put in DeSmith, maybe it wakes the team up, etc.
But Tocchet kept riding with the The Boss. We talked so much about Šilovs not getting rattled in big moments that it makes sense Rick didn’t make a change. And as bad as that goal looked, again, it felt like bad luck more than anything. It felt like anytime The Boss tried to make a read, he just guessed wrong.
And for a lot of goalies, that ends their night. It gets in their head and they mentally break down. Eddie Lack would have been weeping after that fourth goal, demanding you buy a house from him otherwise he’s going to be financially ruined.
But Tocchet didn’t panic. Šilovs didn’t panic. The team didn’t panic. I think they saw what we all saw which was an Edmonton Oilers team lucky to be up 4-1 in the game.
Which brings us back to the major point of this clip, which is Zach Hyman going full Ryan Kesler after he scored on a pretty lacklustre shot.
When you break in between Shea Weber and Shane O’Brien to dangle your way to a highlight reel goal? Yeah, that’s worth taunting the crowd.
You come down the wing and touch shafts with Tyler Myers and get off a dinky shot that dribbles in? That’s not the time to go full Ryan Kesler.
The second Hyman did that taunt the Hockey Gods took notice.
Best it’s true, it’s damn true
Ah the joys of not facing Juuse Saros:
This entire shift was the Corolla line forechecking and making life miserable for the Oilers. They hurried them the second they got the puck. They kept the puck from getting cleared out of the zone. They laid the body any chance they got. They showed Oilers players pictures of Edmonton to remind them what was waiting for them. Anything to get them off their game. And the Canucks eventually got the puck on net because of it.
Was it the nicest goal? Of course not. That goal is greasier than your hair in high school, back when you really got into watching baking videos on YouTube. That’s the kind of goal that Zack Hyman would over celebrate without any shame.
But it’s also a heads up play by Elias Lindholm, who realizes that Stuart Skinner is the guy in net, and he gets spooked easily by pucks. So Lindholm pushes the puck near the crease, Skinner boots it in his own net, and baby, you’ve got a stew game going.
Coach Tocchet spoke after the game about how the crowd really lifted the team up after the second goal, and it’s true: it got LOUD in Rogers Arena after that goal. It was almost like there was a sense that people were like, “Wait, right, this is Skinner in net, bad goals can happen,” and the entire building rode a wave of euphoria that was absorbed into the players.
Remember, again, that against Nashville, it was so incredibly hard to get into the middle of the ice. The Canucks had to settle for thoughts and prayer shots from the point for large chunks of time. Yet here’s Stuart literally bopping the puck into his own net.
This was the moment the Canucks realized the game was theirs for the taking.
Best calling your shot
Grady wins call of the night, and I hope he got paid.
As for Leon, it’s true, he missed part of the game. And when he came back, he clearly had issues making cuts on the ice. His ankle is most likely not in a good head space right now. His ankle just needs some time apart to “think things through” and to “make sure they’re on the same page, and want the same things in life.”
There were multiple times where he would simply back off from engaging in a board battle, and at one point in the game, he fell trying to make a turn on the ice.
Leon is an elite offensive player, so he can still burn you. And with a powerplay, bad ankle or not, he can still rip shots by your goalie.
But if he is injured to the point where he’s missing shifts and can’t cuts on the ice? That’s bad news for Edmonton. And for a city that just got running water, that’s a big blow.
Best Travis Green hockey
8 minutes into the third period, and the Oilers didn’t have a shot. The Canucks were playing well, but weren’t generating a lot.
But you had a feeling that the Oilers were sitting back way too much. You could almost hear Travis Green whisper, “This is a hard league to win games in,” as the Oilers attempted to ride out a 4-2 win by refusing to cross the red line.
Best game of inches, part two
The best part about this comeback? An inch the other way, and this game is back to being a three goal lead for the Oilers:
Ryan McLeod makes a fantastic pass to the Nuge, but he hits the post. The Boss is happily dreaming about what shirt to pair with his black short pants and doesn’t even realize the puck is heading his way, that’s how good a pass this was. All he knows is he hears some iron and he hopes it’s a deficiency issue.
Here’s the thing, though. Ryan is from Burnaby. You don’t grow up watching movies at Metrotown and trying frozen yogurt for the first time without wondering what it would be like for Vancouver to win a Stanley Cup. Maybe part of his subconscious doesn’t want to score there.
Sleeper agents on both sides.
Best tips for scoring
We had a lot of common themes on the night, and one of them is that JT Miller continues to be a major factor for the Vancouver Canucks:
There is a reason when Al Murdoch announces the line up, he lets the crowd finish the “Miller” part like it’s a WWE PPV in France. It feels like we’re a game away from JT Miller trying to get the crowd to “yeet” with him.
There is also a reason there was a loud, prolonged “JT Miller” chant after this goal.
The guy is just firing on all cylinders right now.
Sure, he still makes random lazy plays. This guy could score a hat-trick on the night and he’ll still pass the puck into a two-on-one the other way and make a lazy change watching it all play out.
But the guy continues to make things happen. Your team needs a hit? He’s going to be out there throwing his body around like a young Jacob Trouba. You need some top level passing? He’s out there dishing the puck like a plucky Kyle Wellwood.
You need a goal that requires the deftest tip of the season? He’s out there like Ric Flair, screaming at people and handing out $1000 tips.
And that tip? That is outrageous. That is a tip they run in practice and giggle about how that would never work in a game, yet here we are, in round two of the playoffs, and JT Miller is converting that into a goal. That kind of tip should be illegal, but it’s Jimothy Timothy, and he just continues to drag this team back into every single fight.
You want to try and take this land from Vancouver? Well Rip Wheeler has some thoughts on that.
Just a disgusting play from JT Miller. If you watch that goal at work it should be flagged by your IT team and you should end up in a meeting with HR, as you scramble to explain how that filth ended up on your hard drive. Nervously explaining how you just have a thing for tips, and you know it was wrong to watch, but you couldn’t help it, you must have an addiction, and yes, you’ll get help, and no, it won’t happen again, but you know it will. It will be 3am in the morning and the bright light of your laptop will illuminate your face as you watch JT Miller in the dark, scoring over and over and over again.
It was so good I didn’t even have time to talk about the brilliant passing from Boeser and Soucy, who essentially run a passing play I can only assume came from playing Legend of Zelda. The triforce passing that leads to Boeser feeding Miller down low is just sublime. Take this, it’s dangerous to go alone, indeed.
Best Drance was right
The Canucks powerplay was garbage BUT it did produce a two-on-one rush against in which Tyler Myers defended it without flinging himself to the ice. It was a proud moment for me, but it’s 1:04am in the arena and the cleaners are looking at me nervously, wondering if I’m ever going to leave, so I don’t have time to search for the clip.
Best Zaddy Cool
You know what else is a theme of the post-season? Nikita Zadorov coming up clutch:
If ever there was a time in which you wanted to know what momentum feels like, you just had to be in the building. People can talk all they want about it’s Cup or nothing, but show me one person who was at this game who won’t remember this goal and this game for the rest of their lives. These moments matter.
Watching a goal to drag your team back into a regular season game is one thing.
Watching it come off of a clap bomb in the playoffs is something else entirely.
There is just that primal aspect of simply overpowering the other team that comes from a clapper like this.
It’s why unleashing a slapshot on a penalty shot is the ultimate alpha male move. It lets the other team know that you cannot be stopped, and you will take whatever you want from their village, even if it’s Edmonton and the biggest thing of value there is copper wiring.
This goal is the equivalent of Zadorov lifting his leg up to mark his territory all over the Oilers. Dan Milstein can practically hear the money bags falling from the heavens with each new moment Zadorov keeps giving Vancouver during this run.
We’re at the point where you simply have to say “Zadorov” to someone on the streets of Vancouver and they will high five you and give you a knowing nod of respect. Whatever the opposite of Ryan Whitney is, that’s Zadorov right now. We are seeing a playoff legend grow before us, and it’s a god damn thrill to go along for the ride. Zadorov jerseys are easily flying off the shelves due to this playoff run.
We joked about the Canucks moving on from Hronek if he wanted too much money, but we’re at the point where even if the Canucks keep Hronek for reasonable money, but lose Zadorov because of it, people are going to be real mad about it. Not living up to a new contract is one thing. Losing a fan favorite and not living up to a new contract is a whole new level of hell for any player in a Canadian market.
All of which is to say Edmonton was reeling after this goal.
Again, they were sitting back, praying they could ride out a 4-2 win. Travis Green would have been so proud.
But the Canucks? They dug deep. They kept coming. And they absolutely slaughtered the Oilers due to their lack of pushbacks.
Best coming full circle
You know when you get to taunt and over celebrate a goal?
When you’re Corolla Effing Garland:
Zadorov makes the beautiful pass up to Dakota Joshua, when then finds his BBF Garland.
And Garland? He has tried this fake slapshot, drive wide play all season long. It worked in the first game of the season, but the majority of the time it just sort of generates a shot on net and we go about our day.
But Stuart Skinner is not Juuse Saros. And Corolla Garland? He always gets you where you need to go.
Skinner is facing a superior athlete, he’s never seen someone move so fast. He’s more scared than that time you left your group chat open in front of your wife. Garland fakes the shot, and Skinner opens his legs quicker than someone trying to nervously explain no no, they’re from the NICE part of Edmonton, and boom, the Canucks are up 5-4.
This view of the goal is even better:
That scoop celly? That’s the chefs kiss of this entire play. All season long Garland has been the celly king, and he brought his A game Wednesday night.
And that, kids, is why you don’t taunt a crowd after your shitty shot manages to get in net. You save it for the go ahead goal in the third, like a professional.
To say the crowd was losing it’s god damn mind would be an understatement. You could not hear anything in there, and that crowd was as excited as I’ve seen it in a decade.
I know there will be talk about what makes a season a success, but screw it, no matter what happens, this has been an absolutely amazing year.
Memories are being made. People are happy. Hockey is fun again.
Plenty of games left, but man alive, the moments Zadorov, or Miller or Garland are providing is playoff lore and holy shit is this far better than wondering what the results of the draft lottery look like.
Things matter right now. And it’s delightful.
Best fair point
The Oilers closest chance to tying the game came on a pass that ended up going five hole on The Boss:
You see a goalie letting a puck get through him, I see Šilovs making the right play and letting the puck bounce to the boards for a zone clearance. I see a goalie proudly knowing people are wearing his pink shirt in the crowd.
The scariest part of the game for Vancouver was when Edmonton pulled their goalie, because it gave them the extra man, something they’re very good at.
But any shot Edmonton took, The Boss punched it away, or the Canucks went full Nashville and blocked it:
After the game Lindholm said that he thought the Oilers couldn’t hear how much time was left on the clock due to how loud the crowd was. Players were screaming from the bench, but the home ice advantage came into play as the crowd drowned it all out. It resulted in Edmonton not hurrying their last shot, and the Canucks closing out the game.
Best picture worth a million words
Best meme time
And that was the game.
As I said earlier, the Canucks were down 4-1 at one point in this game, but it never felt out of reach. It wasn’t a game in which you felt you saw the best from Edmonton. It felt like a winnable game that would have been a disappointment had the Canucks not come back to win it.
But that’s the thing with this group. They continue to learn lessons. They continue to battle. And they continue to surprise.
The next step is seeing how the series plays out, and if the all those pundits are going to be left eating their words.
Best wap wap wap wap wap
Best repping the peeps
He wasn’t wrong.
Best jersey Botch
 

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