The post Can the Canucks Put Stranglehold on Battered and Bruised Oilers? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

In Game 3, the Vancouver Canucks managed to edge the Edmonton Oilers with a narrow 4-3 victory in Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series. In a brief recap of the game, Brock Boeser was the standout performer for the Canucks, notching two goals and an assist, while Elias Lindholm also contributed with a pair of goals. Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller also played key roles, each recording two assists. However, the key to the Canucks Game 3 win was rookie goalie Arturs Silovs, who made 42 saves to take home the win for Vancouver.

Mattias Ekholm, Leon Draisaitl, and Evan Bouchard scored net for the Oilers. Although Stuart Skinner started in goal, he was replaced by Calvin Pickard at the start of the third period. Edmonton’s league-leading power play was again potent and went 2 for 4. Still, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Canucks’ determined effort.

Next: 4 in a Row?: Ekholm’s Offensive Contributions Crucial for Oilers

Why the Canucks Won Game 3

The Canucks beat the Oilers for three reasons. First, they succeeded on special teams, particularly the power play. There, they capitalized on 2 of their 3 chances. That allowed them to maintain momentum and pressure throughout the game. Second, the offensive provided by Boeser and Lindholm played crucial roles. Boeser scored two goals, and Lindholm contributed opportune points. The Canucks showed the kind of scoring depth that outpaced the Oilers.

Boeser Pickard Silovs Canucks Oilers Game 4

Vancouver also took it to the Oilers physically. With two big hits to set the tone on Mattias Ekholm early, the Canucks haven’t let up on Edmonton’s stars, even crossing the line after whistles, like the cross-check by Carson Soucy to McDavid that saw Soucy suspended for tonight’s game. The physicality has taken it’s toll, with numerous Oilers missing practice and likely playing at less than 100 percent.

Finally, as noted, the Canucks rookie goalie Silovs put up a standout. The Oilers kept coming, yet he remained composed in the face of a barrage of shots. He made key saves to hang onto his team’s lead.

Looking Ahead to Game 4, What Should

As the series continues, both teams will look to make adjustments heading into Game 4, with the Canucks aiming to extend their series lead and the Oilers aiming to bounce back and even the score. The Oilers have goaltending and depth concerns to figure out. Pickard gets the start in the hopes that a change to the Oilers netminding will spark the team. Should they not respond, Edmonton’s chance to even the series might slip away.

Naming Pickard the starter was a significant change by Oilers Head Coach Kris Knoblauch. Going to a goalie with no playoff experience instead of Skinner is a gamble, even if Skinner has struggled in the series. Skinner’s 4.40 goals-against average contrasts sharply with his regular-season numbers. But, Pickard doesn’t have to be better than Skinner, he just has to be better than Skinner’s numbers in the series, which shouldn’t be hard to do.

The Oilers also face bigger problems than simply in the net. The Canucks are defending well; and, as impossible as it might seem, are holding Connor McDavid more or less in check. Yet the biggest Oilers concern has to be the team’s lack of secondary scoring has been lacking. As a result, the Oilers are switching up the lines and starting McDavid and Leon Draisaitl apart to start Game 4.

Carson Soucy Crosschecks Connor McDavid.

On the Canucks’ side, rookie goaltender Silovs has been a huge surprise. When Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith were injured, many fans believed the Canucks postseason was toast. Instead, the Canucks have been buoyed by Silovs’ heroic play and intend to capitalize on their lead to secure a commanding position in the series.

The Bottom Line for Game 4 Between the Canucks and the Oilers

Oilers fans should keep an eye on whether Pickard’s presence in goal provides stability and boosts team confidence, alongside the need for secondary scoring and a tightened defensive effort to counter the resilient Canucks. Conversely, Canucks fans should hope that Silovs’ solid performance continues. They also must make defensive adjustments in light of Carson Soucy’s suspension.

The game might come down to which team has the best goalie play and which team can generate the best secondary scoring.

Related: Oilers Make Major Line Changes Ahead of Game 4 vs. Canucks

The post Can the Canucks Put Stranglehold on Battered and Bruised Oilers? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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