NHL playoffs | Canucks must embrace the pressure of a seventh game

(Edmonton) Throughout the season, the Vancouver Canucks have preached resilience.

Now the ultimate test comes.

After a crushing 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, the Canucks must once again show their ability to pull themselves together as both teams prepare for Game 7 of their series on Monday.

“Our job right now is to forget about this game,” said Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet. Obviously, some guys know they have to play better. You have 48 hours to regain energy. It’s a seventh game. People would kill to be in this situation. We have to act like we want to be there. »

Finishing a series against the Oilers was never going to be easy according to Canucks winger Brock Boeser. The Vancouver team needed two chances to eliminate the Nashville Predators in the first round.

“I think we knew it was going to be a difficult series from the start, that it was going to go one way and the other,” he insisted. That’s the beauty of playoff hockey. We need to forget about the last game, focus on playing better and give a better effort. »

The Canucks haven’t lost two games in a row since March 25 and 28, but the stakes haven’t been this high.

The winner of Monday’s duel will cross swords with the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final.

Tocchet’s men are approaching the seventh game like any other according to captain Quinn Hughes. This is a golden opportunity for them.

“If you had told us in September that we would have this opportunity, we would have taken it. We probably would have taken it three or four weeks ago too. We are excited,” said Hughes.

The Canucks know there is room for improvement from Saturday’s game.

The Oilers outshot their opponents 27-15 and blocked 12 more shots. Additionally, the Canucks saw 25 shots miss the net.

“It’s not a recipe for success,” Elias Pettersson said of his team’s shooting total. Obviously, we won games when we had fewer shots, but that’s how it is. Today they won. It’s a four of seven series for a reason and I’m going to focus on that. »

Once again, the Oilers also muzzled the Canucks’ numerical advantage, which was shut out on four occasions. The Vancouver squad has not scored in its last 12 power plays.

“Obviously it’s not good enough,” Hughes said. And we will have to be ready. We want to be at our best when it really counts. »

A veteran of 145 NHL playoff games as a player, Tocchet is aware of what is required to win in difficult situations.

He wants his players to stay united before Monday’s game, to play short shifts and to play with the energy of desperation.

“Those are big moments and you’re looking for guys who want to play in those. Do not be afraid. Go for it. That’s my advice to everyone,” said the head coach.

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