NHL Playoff Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks | Round 2, Game 6 | 05/18/2024

Photo by Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin Pickard deserved to win, the Edmonton Oilers deserved to lose.

Our team actually came out strong in the first period. But then, in the last 40 minutes, the Vancouver Canucks wanted it more. They were clearly the better team on the ice. Edmonton looked better in the third period and was way more than fortunate to be tied after the second period. Evan Bouchard has been the second-best Oiler in these Playoffs but picked a bad time to play his worst Playoff game. I couldn’t keep track of the neutral zone giveaways he was guilty of. His worst giveaway was just behind his own net when he got pickpocketed for the game-tying goal by Phil Di Guiseppe.

Thursday night was also a night where you couldn’t call the Oilers powerplay merchants. They finished the game 0/5 with the man advantage. Teams aren’t going to score on every PP, but I can’t recall another time when their top unit looked lifeless and lacked energy on the ice. If you’re forcing a team to defend for a decent chunk of the game, you have to make them pay for it. In a game where the team got a goal from the 4th line and a great defensive play from Vincent Desharnais on the goal line, I have to write about how mediocre the star players looked.

JT Miller pulled off a convincing Bouchard impression, scoring the game winning goal in the final minute of regulation. It was a lucky bounce off the right post and he was there to burry the rebound. That’s a typical postseason goal, they don’t all have to be pretty.

Frank Seravalli tweeted that Stuart Skinner is expected to get the start tonight. I don’t blame Pickard for the Game 5 loss, he did all he could. It’s no secret Skinner looked well below average through Games 1-3, but he is still the franchise’s future in net. He has to be given a chance to redeem himself in a game like this. Here’s hoping that having the last two games off helped him calm down a little. A lot of pressure will be on him to bounce back, let’s see if he does. Adam Henrique is also drawing back into the line-up after missing the last 4 games with an injury. He was productive in Game 1 against the Kings with 2 points. He’ll likely be back on the top line, and will need to contribute for secondary scoring. Corey Perry is the odd man out with this line-up change. Aside from a couple of shifts, I’ve hardly noticed him the last couple of games. A part of me thought he would play tonight, given how crucial the game is. It is why he was brought in after all. He’ll have to be a leader during intermissions.

Yesterday, the hockey world collectively mourned the loss of TSN commentator Darren Dutchyshen. A charismatic figure on camera, and it’s also a bit meaningful in the Oilers community because he worked in Edmonton early in his career; co-hosting the Edmonton sports program 630|CHED. Our condolences are with his friends and family during this difficult time.

The keys to the game are…

Guess Who’s Back?: The Canucks may or may not be getting their #1 goalie back on the ice for this game. Thatcher Demko has been out with an injury since Game 1 of Round 1, Frank Seravalli was the one who counted him out for this long. Arturs Silovs has been playing so good that from Vancouver’s perspective, I can’t imagine sitting a goalie in a groove. But the Oilers need to really test Demko’s recovery if he’s getting the start tonight. If he is coming back, don’t make his comeback an easy one. Shoot the puck as much as possible and force him to work for saves.

91 Vs 91: Evander Kane and Nikita Zadorov have had loads of fun in this series taking shots at each other. Kane scored the opening goal on Thursday, but Zadorov’s team had the last laugh in the end. They’ve contributed offensively, but it’s physically that they’ve both made their presence known. With tonight being an elimination game for Edmonton, Kane has to emerge as an X factor.

Big Game Moments: Every fan wishes their team would make it easier on their personal stress and be unstoppable, but the Playoffs just don’t operate like that. It’s also this sort of scenario that players dream about having. Overcoming adversity, being the hero, extending a series in clutch fashion, and then deciding it in Game 7 if it goes that far. Connor McDavid has only one point in the last 3 games, he’s itching to erupt again. Leon Draisaitl has to continue his Playoff beast mode. And, as I alluded to above, STUUUUU!

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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