NHL Series: Oilers win Game 4 against Canucks 3-2

NHL Series: Oilers win Game 4 against Canucks 3-2
NHL Series: Oilers win Game 4 against Canucks 3-2

SUMMARY

Kris Knoblauch played boldly sending the inexperienced Calvin Pickard to protect their net rather than Stuart Skinner on Tuesday night, and the gamble paid off as Pickard helped stabilize the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2 winners in the fourth game of their second round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Just after conceding the equalizing goal to the Canucks at 18:19 to the great dismay of the fans gathered at Rogers Place, the Albertans responded with a goal from Evan Bouchard, 39 seconds from the end of regulation time;

This all-Canadian confrontation is now equal, two victories everywhere, before moving once again to Vancouver.

Overtime seemed a very likely avenue after Brock Boeser scored his eighth goal of the playoffs, moments after Vancouver brought in a sixth skater.

But Bouchard, perhaps taking advantage of a moment of relaxation from the visitors, played the hero by hitting the target with a shot from the point at 19:21.

It was the 15th point of the series for the offensive guard, who now has 4 goals and 11 assists in nine games.

Pickard, 32, was making his first career playoff start due to Skinner’s disappointing performance.

“I felt comfortable despite the situation. The guys helped me manage things well. But it’s just one game,” Pickard said after his club’s crucial victory.

Draisaitl: boots walk the talk

One of the biggest threats on the Bettman circuit, the Oilers’ devastating five-man attack delivered the first blow of Game 4 in the twelfth minute of play.

It was none other than Leon Draisaitl who hit the target at the expense of goalkeeper Arturs Silovs, after having shot an arrow the day before declaring that “relying on your posts, you can’t call that a good job for a goalkeeper”.

His faithful accomplice Connor McDavid got an assist on this net after being shut out of the scoresheet in the third duel, while Evan Bouchard added an 11th assist to his playoff record.

His teammates did him a favor in the first period by only conceding four shots to the Canucks on his cage.

Both Silovs and Pickard were called upon more in the middle period, but the two unlikely starters made some key saves for their respective clubs.

Edmonton, however, found the fault a second time at the expense of Silovs, and it took a perfect shot from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins which hit the crossbar before entering the net.

The timing of this second Alberta goal – at 7:20 p.m., just before intermission – would have been enough to demoralize the Canucks.

Two goals from the visitors in the 3rd

But Vancouver reignited the suspense before midway in the final period when a shot from Conor Garland deflected twice before ending up in the upper part of the net protected by Pickard.

Having finally found a little rhythm, Rick Tocchet’s troops continued with some of their best offensive sequences at even numbers in this series.

The Oilers managed to temper the Canucks’ ardor until a shot from Boeser deflected off an opponent’s skate before penetrating behind Pickard.

The latter came in relief of Skinner during the 3rd game of the series, Sunday evening. In 40 minutes of play, Skinner had given up four goals on just 15 shots.

On the offensive side, veteran Adam Henrique had to miss a second game in a row due to an ankle injury.

Furthermore, Noah Juulsen replaced Carson Soucy in the Canucks lineup due to the suspension imposed on the latter. This was Juulsen’s first match since April 23.

Soucy received a one-game suspension on Monday following a double check that he delivered to McDavid’s face.

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