June 20th, 2024

Oilers crank up the offence, drill Canucks 5-1 to force Game 7

By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press on May 18, 2024.

Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93), Zach Hyman (18), Evan Bouchard (2) and Connor McDavid (97) celebrate a goal against the Vancouver Canucks during second period second-round NHL playoff action in Edmonton on Saturday May 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – The clash of the Canadian clubs is going the limit.

Evan Bouchard and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists and Connor McDavid had three assists as the Edmonton Oilers staved off elimination with a dominant 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of their best-of-seven, second-round playoff series on Saturday.

“I thought the boys were ready from the start, we obviously knew what was at stake tonight,” said Oilers forward Dylan Holloway. “There was probably a bit of nerves, but once we kind of got settled in we played our game and rolled all four lines and got going there and never looked back.”

Holloway, Zach Hyman and Evander Kane also scored for the Oilers who forced a winner-take-all seventh game in Vancouver on Monday night.

“I thought we played faster, we played cleaner, we were better with the puck, better coming through the neutral zone. We did a great job of getting on top of them on the forecheck and keeping pucks alive,” McDavid said.

“Nothing to be satisfied or excited about, we just bought ourselves another day and I would expect the same level of urgency and desperation from our group. I would expect Vancouver to play a better game as well and I would expect it to be a highly-competitive, great Game 7.”

Nils Hoglander replied for the Canucks who are attempting to make it back to the Western Conference final for the first time since 2011.

“We knew obviously this was going to be a difficult test to win tonight,” Canucks forward Brock Boeser said. “Obviously, they got a couple of goals that obviously sucked and took the wind out of us. I think the belief is in this room.”

Edmonton started the scoring eight minutes into the opening period as Leon Draisaitl fed it up to Holloway and he danced through the defence before tucking it between the legs of Canucks starter Arturs Silovs for his third of the playoffs.

“What an unbelievable effort,” Hyman said. “For a guy who came up really for the playoffs to do that, he’s had big moments here, but it’s a huge goal to settle the team down to get us up.”

Draisaitl has picked up at least one point in all 11 playoff games this season.

Less than two minutes later the Canucks evened it up as Elias Pettersson sent a pass from behind the net out front to Hoglander, who snuck his first of the playoffs past Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner, who ended up only needing to make 14 saves on the night.

The Oilers looked to have scored with one second remaining in the first on a point blast from Bouchard, but the goal was called off due to McDavid making incidental contact with Silovs.

The shots were just 4-4 through the first 20 minutes.

Edmonton regained the lead seven minutes into the middle frame as McDavid spotted Hyman in the slot and his shot deflected and bounced up and over Silovs and into the Vancouver net for his 10th of the playoffs. McDavid came into the game having only recorded one assist in his previous three games combined.

McDavid picked up another assist with 8:40 to play in the second as Bouchard scored his fifth goal and 17th point of the post-season on a long bullet of a shot from the point. The Oilers captain became just the 10th player in NHL history to record 20 playoff points in three consecutive seasons with his second assist.

Edmonton outshot Vancouver 14-5 in the second.

The Oilers made it 4-1 just 3:25 into the third period as McDavid picked up his third helper, sending a backhand pass to a hard-charging Nugent-Hopkins, who scored his third of the playoffs.

Edmonton put the game away with seven minutes left in the third as the draw came back to Kane and he unleashed a wicked wrister for his fourth of the post-season.

Boeser is confident the Canucks can rebound for Game 7.

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily what you dream of as a kid, but it’s definitely an opportunity for our group,” he said. “Obviously, we can play better and we all know that.

“We’ll regroup and look at what we can do better and it’s just going to come down to who wants it more next game.”

NOTES

Veteran forward Corey Perry was a healthy scratch for Edmonton, with Sam Carrick coming in to take his place. “¦ Skinner returned between the pipes for Edmonton after Calvin Pickard served as the starter for the last two games. “¦ Vancouver dressed the same lineup that garnered them a Game 5 victory. “¦ Out with injuries were goalie Thatcher Demko (undisclosed) for the Canucks and forward Adam Henrique (lower body) for Edmonton. “¦ Draisaitl became just the fourth player in NHL history to record 60 assists in 60 playoffs games and the third fastest in league history to get to 100 points behind Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. “¦ The Canucks came into the game having registered at least 40 hits in each of the previous four games and held a 214-143 advantage in the series. “¦ Hyman is only the sixth player in Oilers franchise history to score 10 goals in a single post-season.

UP NEXT

Game 7 takes place in Vancouver on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2024.

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