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Vancouver Canucks posted a 5-4 comeback win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks have been talking about resilience for months.

On Wednesday, the team again showed how the word has become part of its identity as Vancouver fought back from a three-goal deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

“The faith is always there,” Canucks winger Dakota Joshua said. “To know that you have to keep playing until the end, anything can happen.”

Vancouver hasn’t always had the ability to stay calm and stage a dramatic comeback in high-pressure situations, head coach Rick Tocchet noted.

“Maybe four or five months ago, or maybe last year, you might have seen some frustration, some laziness or if something frustrated us, we took a bad penalty,” he said.

“If you look at it, when they were 4-1, I thought we still stayed disciplined. We weren’t pinching, we weren’t selling the farm. And I think that’s the maturity of the year, how we kind of have been built up of our determination.”

Joshua had a goal and two assists, Nikita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm contributed one each, and JT Miller and Conor Garland also found the back of the net for Vancouver. Carson Soucy registered a pair of assists.

The Oilers took a 4-2 lead in the final frame, thanks to two goals from Zach Hyman, and one each from Mattias Ekholm and Cody Ceci. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl each had two assists.

“They’re a good team and they did everything they could to get back and we did everything we could to hold the lead. That happens in the play-offs, you try to hold the lead and sometimes you might be a little bit too passive,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who was limited to one assist on Wednesday.

“I thought we did a good job of keeping the lead, but they find a way to get two and a way to make a third one win.”

The Canucks got 13 saves from rookie goalie Arturs Silovs and Stuart Skinner stopped 19 of 24 shots for the Oilers.

Edmonton was coming off a six-day rest after ousting the LA Kings in a five-game first-round series. Vancouver eliminated the Nashville Predators in Game 6 on Friday.

An early penalty proved costly for the Canucks. Vancouver was called for too many men just 40 seconds into the game and Edmonton’s powerful power play started to work.

Nugent-Hopkins sent Hyman a pass over the top of the crease and the winger unleashed a one-timer from an acute angle, tucking the puck under the crossbar for his eighth goal of the postseason at 2:11.

Edmonton was 1-on-1 on the power play and Vancouver 0-on-3.

The Oilers led 4-1 midway through the second when Hyman put away his ninth goal of the postseason.

Lindholm cut the deficit to 4-2 before the end of the period, and a stretch of four-on-four hockey in the final frame pulled the Canucks to within one goal.

Brock Boeser sent a pass to Miller at the goal line and the puck bounced off Miller’s stick and then over Skinner’s glove at 8:38. The goal — Miller’s second of the playoffs — prompted enthusiastic chants of “JT Mill-er!” Rogers Arena everywhere.

Zadorov buried his third of the postseason (13:47) in the third with a long shot into the top corner, making it 4-4.

“Everyone wants to be in that moment,” Garland said. “We understand when you have to execute and when you dig a hole like that, you have to execute if you want to get back in the game. And I think that was the most important thing in the third, that we just took our chances and buried them. “

The crowd erupted 39 seconds later when Garland picked off a pass at center ice and went one-on-one with Darnell Nurse. The winger fired a shot past Skinner from the bottom of the faceoff circle to put Vancouver up 5-4.

“It’s a resilient group,” Tocchet said of his team. “Sometimes we are not beautiful. Sometimes things happen. But I just feel like it’s a really close group. And this is when you need a cohesive group in these situations.”

“And I thought everyone had something to contribute tonight. There were no passengers.’


Edmonton forward Adam Henrique missed Game 1 with an ankle injury. Connor Brown took his spot in the lineup and made his first postseason appearance.


Draisaitl and McDavid each have points in all six of Edmonton’s playoff games this year. Draisaitl has collected five goals and seven assists, while McDavid has one goal and 12 assists to lead the league in post-season scoring.


Game 2 is scheduled for Friday in Vancouver. The series moves to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press