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Canucks' Road Warrior Mentality on Display vs. Oilers in Game 3 – Hockey Writers – Vancouver Canucks

Mother's Day featured a particularly brutal incarnation in the Vancouver Canucks-Edmonton Oilers rivalry. Game 3 on Sunday night in Edmonton saw bodies flying everywhere, including an attack on the Oilers bench, bad things after the final whistle, and players like Nikita Zadorov, Dakota Joshua, and JT Miller bringing the hurt chants and asking questions later on. In all, including the relentless pressure of the Oilers in the third period, the Canucks won 4-3. They are now leading 2-1. Here are some of the big stories

Arturs Silovs Shines, Stuart Skinner Showing Cracks

One of the biggest episodes going into the series was the goaltending matchup between Vancouver's Arturs Silovs and Edmonton's Stuart Skinner. In the case of the Canucks, the cocktail of question marks and excitement was completely understandable. The 23-year-old had never played in any NHL games in his young career – nine straight – before helping the cause in Round 1 against the Nashville Predators. But, with all due respect to Nashville, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg are not Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

In the case of the Oilers, some fans remember Skinner's 2023 playoffs, when he got the hook a few times and, when it mattered most, didn't answer the bell. To be fair, Skinner did play his first regular season in 2022-23, so it's not like he's a veteran.

Related: 5 Takeaways from Oilers' 4-3 Game 3 Loss to Canucks

Despite the fact that neither striker has a brilliant goalscoring average of three games, few would deny that Silovs is living up to the new reputation it has built for itself. Right from the first minutes, the Latvian goalkeeper fired one thunderous time-out, if it had gone in, Rogers Place would have been shaken and the Canucks trailed early.

He protected his net from Draisaitl during a split in the second period, made a key save just before the buzzer ended the middle frame, and was happy throughout the final period when the Oilers needed two goals. Draisaitl can argue all he wants that the assist post isn't great goaltending (the post assisted on another Draisailt breakup), but Silovs still finished the night with a .933 save percentage (SV%).

On the other hand, Skinner finished with a .733 SV% and was caught before the third period. He hit .842 in Game 2 despite the win and .792 in the loss in Game 1. Was Silovs good in the first two games? Not quite (.778 and .871 save percentages), but in a series where key saves can be costly, the Oilers blinked first. One doesn't have to be amazing against Edmonton's undeniable quality club, they just have to be good enough. So far, Silovs has been there.

Canucks depth vs. Oilers Predictability?

As the postseason and this series, in particular, continues, some patterns begin to emerge for both sides. In Vancouver's case, the team's depth and flexibility. On any given night, someone can help the Canucks, and the same can't be said for the Oilers.

This has led to some unpredictability. Elias Pettersson, who recently signed a heavy contract as he played well this season, has only one goal this season. In contrast, Brock Boeser is playing like a man in charge, including in Game 3 when he scored two goals in the opening frame and nearly had a hat trick if not for Elias Lindholm's deflected shot. Speaking of Lindholm, that acquisition of the season proved to be quite the coup. He also got a brace on Sunday, earning both markers on the power play.

Dakota Joshua, Elias Lindholm, and Conor Garland of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Ethan Cairns/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dakota Joshua has been great (seven points), JT Miller has been consistent (11 points), Quinn Hughes has been himself (eight points), and Lindholm has shown his worth in the playoffs (seven). Nikita Zadorov, who is known for his strong play, exceeded expectations (seven points). When players like Zadorov and Joshua aren't scoring or assisting, they're blasting opponents off the boards or benches, as the former did to Evander Kane on Sunday.

On the other hand, it's starting to look like the Canucks may be turning on an unexpected cheat code against the Oilers. Can McDavid, Draisaitl, and Zach Hyman be completely shut down? Not at all. They are very good. But if everyone is shut down, and it's all down to those three then there is a path to the third round for Vancouver. Those three are very smart, but they can't pay for 60 minutes, and they won't get a goal every shift.

in Vancouver Road Warriors

New movie on Max is crazy series will open in theaters soon, so it feels right to highlight that the Canucks have proven to be road warriors in these playoffs – Road Warrior which is the second title Max is crazy the movie. Head coach Rick Tocchet's squad is 4-0 in the postseason in their travels.

No one will pretend that quartet of victories were examples of high-quality hockey (Game 4 of the first round, anyone?), but playing away from home is notorious, and the club won't always benefit from playing its favorite. style. As a road team against the Oilers, there is no doubt that there will be a lot of pressure on defense, as it happened in the third period of Game 3. But credit to the Canucks for being brave in the face of adversity. They outshot the Oilers 53-32 and blocked 23 of the Oilers' six shots. Tyler Myers had four blocks to his name to lead the way.

It won't do to obsess over bad things, though. Everyone saw what happened behind the Silovs net after the final whistle. Was McDavid's slash offensive? Sure, it could have been about any player getting, but Zadorov and Carson Soucy's double teaming on the Oilers superstar was not a good look. Although Zadorov did not know what Soucy was going to do, it does not change the outcome, and Soucy is about to be disciplined.

The big question now for the Canucks is whether they can repeat the performance of Game 3 in Game 4, which will be played again in Edmonton? A 2-1 series lead is no reason to hold back, especially against a team as talented as Edmonton. The Oilers know that falling behind 3-1 in Vancouver would be bad news. Vancouver needs to be ready for battle. So far in 2023-24, the Canucks have had the number of the Oilers (six wins in seven contests). These are the moments in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when a team's DNA is revealed.

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