3 Canucks Who Need to Step Up Against Oilers

TheVancouver Canucks are set to take on the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 takes place on May 8 at Rogers Arena. The Canucks finished their first-round match against the Nashville Predators in six games. 3 Canucks Who Need to Step Up Against Oilers

J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes did their part in the first-round matchup. Boeser led with four goals and six points, while Miller tied him in points with six, and Hughes posted five assists throughout six games. The line of Elias Lindholm, Conor Garland and Dakota Joshua stepped up at key times. Joshua scored the game-winner in Game 1 and Lindholm won Game 4 in overtime. Pius Suter did his part on a line with the Miller and Boeser, and scored the series winner in Game 6.

Three goaltenders picked up a win for the Canucks in the first-round matchup, with Thatcher Demko, Casey DeSmith and Arturs Silovs stepping up when needed. Demko likely won’t play for the majority of the series against the Oilers, which means Silovs will \ start the series in his absence. The Canucks blue line also did its part with the organization having to switch between netminders throughout the series. Nikita Zadorov and Tyler Myers provided a physical presence, while Ian Cole brought a veteran voice to the locker room.

However, the Canucks will need more than those players to beat Connor McDavid and the Oilers. They averaged 4.40 goals for per game in the first round, which means the Canucks will need to score a lot more than they did in the first round. The series will likely be a high scoring one, and these three players need to step up their play in the second round to ensure the Canucks can keep up.

Elias Pettersson

There is no doubt Elias Pettersson’s first-round performance was disappointing. The forward failed to score a goal and posted three assists in six games. Additionally, he has only scored one goal in his last 18 games.

Pettersson didn’t look like himself throughout the series, struggling to finish on any of his scoring chances and struggling to set up his linemates. He noticeably struggled in Game 2, where he missed a wide-open net and decided to pass the puck instead of shooting on another during the power play. Additionally, he turned the puck over on the Predators’ third goal. The forward credited the Predators for being hard to play against and said he needed to find a way to make plays (from ‘Why Canucks star Elias Pettersson is struggling — and how he can get going,’ The Athletic, May 7, 2024).

Head coach Rick Tocchet tried to get Pettersson going by playing him with elite players in Miller and Boeser at different points of the series. His linemates Ilya Mikheyev and Nils Hoglander haven’t helped the forward much. They’ve failed to find him and make key plays, which would allow him to make a play. Pettersson said his line needs to create more and focus on the forecheck before Game 6 against Nashville.

“Obviously, we can generate more offence, ” Pettersson said. “I think they’ve been breaking the puck out a little bit too easy against us.”

The Canucks need Pettersson’s line in this series. Miller and Lindholm’s respective lines will likely be used to match up against McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s lines. Therefore, the mismatch comes down to how Pettersson’s line performs and the trio will need to be productive with the centre leading the way.

Nils Hoglander

Although Mikheyev has struggled on Pettersson’s wing, Hoglander is the winger who needs to step up. The forward scored a career-high 24 goals in 80 games but failed to register a single point in the first round. He had the fourth most goals for the club in the regular season and provided them with secondary scoring. The Canucks need him to be productive in the second round. Along with his lack of points, Hoglander registered the fifth least shots on net against the Predators with two. He had the eighth most shots on net through 80 regular season games with 120.

The Canucks need Pettersson to produce, but the Swedish centre needs his fellow countrymen and linemate to help him. If Hoglander can make the right plays and feed Pettersson the puck, the centre can create scoring opportunities for himself and others.

Filip Hronek

The Canucks’ blue line did their part against the Predators. Hughes pulled through despite taking multiple hits in a physical series, while Zadorov and Myers helped offensively while providing a physical presence. Additionally, Cole provided a veteran presence and played well in Game 6, while Carson Soucy continued to be a big part of the club’s penalty kill.

Filip Hronek is the blueliner who had a disappointing performance against the Predators. Although he averaged 20:29 in time on ice, he didn’t register a single point. The defenceman put up five goals and 48 points through 81 games in the regular season, the second most on the blue line. When he is at the top of his, he is a great d-partner for Hughes, as the two can create a lot of scoring opportunities for the club.

Hronek is slated to become a restricted free agent this offseason. The blueliner declined the Canucks’ initial offer before the playoffs. Nonetheless, the pressure is on the defenceman to show that he is worth the money he is asking for. For that to happen, he’ll need to step up against the Oilers.

Canucks Need Help From Pettersson Line and Hronek

Tocchet will likely play Miller and Lindholm’s lines against the Oilers’ top two lines. Therefore, Pettersson’s line will need to step up. For that to happen, the centre will have to start converting on scoring opportunities, while creating for his linemates. Additionally, Hoglander will need to help his centre out as well. Meanwhile, Hronek needs to make an impact at 5-on-5 and create from the point. The Canucks need all three players to be successful against Edmonton.

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