June 13, 2024

Canucks-Oilers Game 7 playoff preview: X factors, predictions

It’s all come right down to this. The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers have fought to a tie by means of six video games in a battle for Western Canadian supremacy.

Game 7 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) will decide which workforce strikes on to face the Dallas Stars within the Western Conference finals, and which workforce is headed to the golf course.

Which gamers will play an outsized function for every workforce Monday night time, and who wins?

Who is the one participant you’ll be expecting the Canucks?

Ryan S. Clark, NHL reporter: Elias Pettersson. Let’s return to February. The Canucks went 10-3 for the month, and Petterson was an enormous cause for that success. He scored 14 objectives, which added to the assumption that he and the Canucks might pose an issue within the playoffs. Since then, he has struggled to seek out offensive consistency, however does have factors within the final two video games.

He’s supplied the kind of defensive reliability that’s justified why he continues to earn excessive minutes, with the concept his means to create and rating objectives may very well be ready to blow up. It’s not that the Canucks want Pettersson to attain to win video games. But if he can add one other layer to what they’ve already completed? It might play a monumental function within the Canucks reaching the Western Conference finals.

Victoria Matiash, NHL analyst: J.T. Miller. If Miller’s line can once more restrict Connor McDavid — which they excelled at doing in Game 5 — his membership sports activities a a lot better probability of pulling off the series-deciding victory at dwelling. A key objective from the heart-and-soul participant of this Vancouver squad would additionally go a great distance. The Canucks’ regular-season scoring chief has a pair of tallies up to now this sequence, together with the third-period game-winner within the 3-2 victory in Game 5 at Rogers Arena.

Arda Öcal, NHL broadcaster: Arturs Silovs. He’s been terrific and enjoyable to look at this postseason. Game 6 wasn’t his greatest, permitting 5 objectives on 27 pictures. This is the largest sport of his profession. Will he rise as much as the problem? He definitely has to this point, particularly after two Canucks goalies have fallen to harm. A victory in opposition to Edmonton would develop the Silovs legend exponentially.

Kristen Shilton, NHL reporter: Dakota Joshua. The Canucks gained’t have Brock Boeser in Game 7, and that ups the ante for each different ahead to provide (Boeser leads Vancouver with 12 factors in 12 postseason video games).

Joshua heard it from J.T. Miller in Game 6 as feelings boiled over for the Canucks. Game 7 is an opportunity for Joshua to indicate he not solely bought the message, however is able to contributing much more up entrance. Edmonton’s stars can be urgent and the Canucks want their high six to reply in type. Joshua has 4 objectives and eight factors by means of 12 video games — this can be a second for him to really assist fill the void in a sequence the place the pendulum swings have been large.

If it’s going again in Vancouver’s course, Joshua greatest be a part of the answer.

Greg Wyshynski, NHL reporter: Quinn Hughes. We haven’t seen a definitive second for Hughes on this sequence, except you rely getting slashed open by Connor McDavid’s excessive stick in Game 2 as such a second. Only two objectives have been scored with Hughes on the ice at 5-on-5 on this sequence, one for Vancouver and one for Edmonton. He was even by means of six video games in opposition to the Nashville Predators as effectively (three objectives for and in opposition to).

Game 7 supplies the anticipated Norris Trophy winner with a grand stage for a press release sport, particularly in a sequence the place one other nice younger defensemen — Evan Bouchard of the Oilers — has made the a lot better influence.

Who is the one participant you’ll be expecting the Oilers?

Clark: Stuart Skinner. What stands earlier than Skinner is an opportunity to have a defining efficiency. A win provides to the assumption that Skinner may be able to serving to the Oilers win a title. A loss might doubtlessly result in extra hypotheticals and questions on if Skinner is the reply in internet, long run.

Perhaps that’s an excessive amount of to put upon one individual. But that is additionally the fact of the Oilers in the intervening time. They’ve seen groups such because the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights win Stanley Cups. They now have an opportunity to return to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three years the place they’ll face a Dallas Stars workforce that’s additionally trying to be the third straight Western workforce to win all of it. That is what it means to be the Oilers, and that is what it means to be Stuart Skinner.

Matiash: Leon Draisaitl. I’ll go along with the determine who simply joined Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in rounding out the trio of quickest gamers to achieve 100 profession playoff factors. The identical clutch skater who has registered at the least one level in each postseason contest to this point, averaging a league-leading 2.09 factors per sport. Unless the Canucks can considerably stifle Edmonton’s “other” celebrity, we’re seemingly in for an Oilers-Stars convention finals.

Öcal: Connor McDavid. “Gee thanks Arda. Are you in commercials, because you’re being Captain Obvious.” But hear me out. McDavid has had two “McDavid-esque” video games to this point this sequence, in addition to three video games (3, 4 and 5) the place he wasn’t his explosive self, and had one help throughout that stretch. If McDavid is held off the scoresheet in Game 7, the Oilers will lose.

This is the third Game 7 within the McDavid period for the Oilers. In 2017, McDavid had zero factors in 24 minutes of ice time in a Game 7 loss in opposition to the Ducks within the second spherical.Fast ahead to 2022, Connor will get a objective and help in 27 minutes of ice time in a Game 7 win in opposition to the Kings within the opening spherical. The greatest participant on the planet should present up.

Shilton: Stuart Skinner. It’s one factor to win in Game 6 when all of the strain is firmly in your opponent to shut the deal. It’s one other story in Game 7, when urgency and desperation can be sky-high on each side. Can Skinner deal with the warmth in that scenario?

Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch put his religion in Skinner to assist the Oilers survive one other day by tapping him for Game 6. But it doesn’t imply a lot if Skinner falls aside once more in Game 7. He has each proper to really feel assured and reassured after a robust return to the crease on Saturday. Now it’s a case of “don’t change much” regardless of Vancouver projecting to push more durable than ever to achieve that Western Conference finals. Skinner’s efficiency may very well be the distinction between whether or not Edmonton can hold the Canucks at bay one final time.

Wyshynski: Evan Bouchard. As I discussed in discussing Quinn Hughes, Bouchard has been probably the most impactful defenseman on this sequence. Edmonton is a plus-6 in objective differential when he’s on the ice at 5-on-5; that balloons to a plus-11 in all conditions. He’s tied with McDavid in factors scored within the sequence with 9 (each of them trailing Draisaitl, at 13). Bouchard is main the Oilers in common ice time (26:35).

He had the game-winning objectives in Games 2 and 4, and has factors in 5 of six video games. Can he be the Game 7 hero, too?

The remaining rating can be _______.

Clark: Canucks 4-3. Maybe this isn’t the ultimate scoreline precisely. But the probabilities of Game 7 being determined by a single objective is extraordinarily lifelike. Until Game 6, each sport of this sequence has been determined by a objective. Furthermore, the Canucks had performed 9 consecutive one-goal video games this postseason till they misplaced Game 6. It’s attainable that the Oilers might have one other offensive outburst. But in a sequence that’s been so tight, it might be becoming that the ultimate conclusion is set by the narrowest of margins.

Matiash: Oilers 3-2, with Draisaitl scoring the game-winner in OT. Don’t get me unsuitable, a frenzied goal-fest could be extra enjoyable, ideally determined within the waning minutes (additional time could be even higher). But is that too huge of an ask, contemplating how infective both aspect’s energy play has been of late? While Edmonton has one objective with the additional skater since Game 3, the Canucks are 0-for-11. Plus, within the spirit of not overthinking issues, two of the final three video games on this sequence have been determined by a rating of 3-2. So there’s that.

Öcal: Oilers 6-4. I do know, I do know, how can a Game 7 be a observe meet when gamers sometimes play to not make errors and no person needs to be “that guy,” proper? This one feels totally different. I say it blows large open and we see a forwards and backwards battle between two thrilling groups. 5-4 late within the third, empty-netter to seal it.

Shilton: Canucks 5-4. There can be objectives. Lots of them. There can be strain. Lots of it. In the top, Vancouver can get it completed with the precise focus and execution from all through their lineup, from stars to function gamers. The Canucks and Oilers each have nice depth, but when Vancouver can maximize its total bench they will squeeze by Edmonton in a nail biter and punch their ticket to the WCF.

Wyshynski: Oilers 3-2 in additional time. Both groups have proven the flexibility to defend effectively. In the Canucks’ case, it’s within the workforce DNA; within the Oilers’ case, it’s a bit extra scattershot sport to sport. Both groups will carry that defensive aptitude in Game 7.

Vancouver could be shut down offensively: In Game 6, the Canucks have been held to fifteen pictures (or fewer) for the third time this postseason. That’s tied for the second-most in a single postseason since first tracked in 1959-60, tied with the 1988 Bruins (3) and trailing solely the 1998 Stars (4). A tightly performed sport will find yourself in additional time, and one of many Oilers’ ability gamers makes a play whereas Stuart Skinner holds the fort.