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Last-minute goal gives Canucks crucial win over Oilers in Game 5

The Vancouver Canucks were the better team from start to finish in Game 5 but it took a last-minute goal by J.T. Miller to give them the win.
The Vancouver Canucks took on the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena on Thursday for Game 5 of their second-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet made wholesale changes to his forward lines heading into Thursday night's Game 5 against the Edmonton Oilers. Only J.T. Miller's top line with Brock Boeser and Pius Suter remained the same.

The primary aim appeared to be reigniting franchise forward Elias Pettersson, who had struggled thus far in the postseason, with just one goal and four points in ten games. He was lined up on the wing with red-hot centre Elias Lindholm, along with Nils Höglander, who got back into the lineup after two games as a healthy scratch.

Tocchet wasn't the only one trying to get Pettersson going. Canucks fans showed their support as well with "Let's go, Petey!" chants ringing out around Rogers Arena ahead of the game and throughout the first period. Whether it was the new linemates or the vote of confidence from the fans, Pettersson was flying right from puck drop, creating a couple of chances early in the first period with some slick moves in the offensive zone.

It was the Canucks' fourth line, however, who came through with the offence in the first two periods.

Before that, the Oilers struck first. Ian Cole, who has struggled all series, turned the puck over multiple times on one shift to extend the Oilers' possession in the Canucks' zone, then had a pass skip over his stick to Leon Draisaitl behind the net, who set up Evander Kane for a quick shot that beat Arturs Silovs short side.

Lindholm nearly responded, as a Pettersson shot deflected off his body and got in behind Calvin Pickard. Lindholm slid the puck toward the net but Vincent Desharnais cleared it off the goal line.

The Canucks eventually got the tying goal from Carson Soucy, who returned to the lineup after a one-game suspension. The fourth line forced the puck into the offensive zone and Vasily Podkolzin, in his first game of the playoffs, had the puck knocked off his stick in the slot and it came to Soucy at the left point. He rifled a shot over Calvin Pickard's glove to make it 1-1.

The tie only lasted 22 seconds. Soucy, perhaps over-eager after his goal, chased a puck in the offensive zone while the Canucks had three forwards deep. That created a 3-on-1 the other way and Connor Brown set up Mattias Janmark for the 2-1 goal. 

The Canucks took over the game in the second period, out-shooting the Oilers 17-to-4 in the middle frame. Only one of those shots hit the back of the net, however, and it was the fourth line again stepping up.

Nils Åman caught Evan Bouchard off-guard behind the Oilers' net with a quick forecheck, knocking the puck off his stick to Phil Di Giuseppe in front. The winger, who missed two games while his wife gave birth to their second child, celebrated fatherhood with a spinning backhand through Pickard's five-hole to tie the game.

The second period then took a controversial turn as Elias Pettersson was inexplicably called for charging on what appeared to be a typical reverse hit. The call had the Canucks confused, as well as veteran players and broadcasters, who had never seen the rule applied that way.

While fans voiced their displeasure with the call, it ultimately had little impact on the game, as the Canucks' penalty kill was dialed in, limiting the Oilers' dynamite power play to a handful of shots. 

The Canucks continued to pour on the pressure in the third period, hemming the Oilers into their zone for long stretches of time but were still unable to get another puck past Pickard. It took until the final minute for the Canucks to break through with the game-winning goal.

When the goal finally came, it was the Elias connection creating the chance. Lindholm carried the puck in on the right wing and threw it in front for Pettersson to tip on net. His deflection hit the post but J.T. Miller jumped on the rebound to chip it in.

A game removed from feeling responsible for the Oilers' game-winning goal in the final minute, Miller scored the game-winning goal for the Canucks in the final minute.

The clutch goal gave the Canucks the well-deserved 3-2 win in the game and the 3-2 lead in the series. 


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