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Canucks come just short of Game 7 comeback versus Oilers

The Vancouver Canucks couldn't quite complete the comeback against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of their second-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
On Monday night, the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers faced off in Game 7 of their second-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Already missing their number-one goaltender, the Vancouver Canucks headed into Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers without their leading goalscorer too. The missing goaltender wasn't an issue; the missing goalscorer certainly was, as the Canucks showed little offensive spark until the final minutes of the game.

Brock Boeser's absence was felt early, as the Canucks managed just two shots on goal in the first period, which is dire for a do-or-die Game 7. More troubling, the Canucks had a four-minute power play near the end of the first and the only shot — and most dangerous chance — was for the Oilers on a shorthanded breakaway for Connor Brown.

While the power play was struggling with Boeser in recent games, it looked entirely toothless without Boeser. Filip Hronek took his place on the first power play unit, giving the Canucks a two-defenceman, three-forward set that looked outdated at a time when teams around the NHL almost exclusively use one defenceman on the power play. 

Fortunately for the Canucks, rookie goaltender Arturs Silovs brought his A-game on Monday night, stopping all 13 shots he faced in the first, including a glorious save on Brett Kulak a couple of minutes in. Silovs first stopped a hot shot by Dylan Holloway, then stretched across to his right to get his blocker on Kulak's chance on the rebound.

Silovs' heroics kept the score knotted at 0-0 heading into the first intermission but the Canucks' mandate had to be to get more shots in the second.

Technically, the Canucks did get more shots in the second period but only just barely. By the time the Oilers took a 2-0 lead midway through the period, the Canucks had just two more shots on goal. Only then did the Canucks wake up and get some pressure up ice to finish the period with 10 shots.

The Oilers' relentless offensive zone pressure paid off with two goals from the right point through traffic in the second period.

First, Cody Ceci sent a slap shot top corner over Silovs' glove just over a minute into the middle frame. Then Evan Bouchard fired a shot off the post and in on the blocker side. Both times, Silovs couldn't see the puck past a screen.

Sandwiched in between the goals was one of the best saves of the playoffs. At the tail end of an Oilers power play, Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for what looked like an open net, only for Silovs to reach back with his glove and rob the Oilers' star after his shot deflected off Ian Cole.

The Oilers added one more goal in the second, cashing in on the power play. Bouchard's shot from the right side took a lucky deflection to bank off the back boards to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at the backdoor for an open net. Silovs lunged back to the post in desperation but couldn't turn the shot aside and the Oilers took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.

The Canucks have been the authors of so many incredible comebacks in this postseason but they seemed to have run out of gas by the third period against the Oilers. 

But then they ended Stuart Skinner's shutout to ensure this wasn't the third straight Canucks Game 7 without a goal. When Oilers centre Ryan McLeod whiffed on a breakout pass, Conor Garland jumped on the loose puck and snapped it under Skinner's blocker to make it 3-1 and give the Rogers Arena faithful some life.

And then Filip Hronek scored his first goal of the playoffs, blasting a point shot past an inadvertent Mattias Ekholm screen to make it 3-2 with 4:36 remaining. Suddenly, a comeback that had seemed impossible looked entirely probable.

The crowd became deafening, willing the Canucks on. But as they poured on the pressure in the final minutes, desperate to get the game to overtime, the Canucks couldn't manifest another magical comeback.

One last chance by J.T. Miller with 13 seconds left was blocked, ending the comeback and ending the Canucks' season.

It was a difficult way for it to end but it was still a marvelous season with so many amazing moments. As the crowd chanted "Silovs! Silovs! Silovs!" the Canucks shook the hands of the Oilers and headed into the offseason.


Need a more in-depth recap of the game with more highlights, analysis, quips, and quotes? Read the I Watched This Game feature this evening or tomorrow morning. Don't forget to follow @passittobulis on X/Twitter to stay updated on the Canucks throughout the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.