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Canucks bring A-game, earn 3-2 series lead

May 17, 2024, 8:42 AM ET [1 Comments]
York Newbury
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The Canucks brought their A-game Thursday night at home in front of a raucous crowd and dominated for most of the game 5 win. Chants of “Let’s go Petey!” and “JT Miller!” rang down from the seats as the boys were tireless in their effort to push the Oilers to the brink. It was another tight, nervous scoreline, but Miller wrapped up the win with some late-game heroics in front of the faithful. If you missed the game, here are your highlights:

A night after being called out, the team responded. A night after blaming himself for the loss, Miller got redemption. A night after sitting out on suspension, Soucy left his mark.

It was a great team game for the boys, they were flying and dominant and there weren’t any passengers this time around.

“Almost every single guy gave us everything they had,” Tocchet said. “Resilient. I thought the guys were terrific tonight. They really came to play. I thought it was obviously one of our best games in the playoffs.”

The game was the first time in these playoffs the Canucks eclipsed 30 shots. And they didn’t do it on end-to-end action: they possessed the puck, and they defended Edmonton well when they didn’t, limiting them to just 23 shots (12 over the last 40 minutes). They also blanked the Edmonton power play, held McDavid pointless, and put a combined -4 on McDavid and Draisaitl. If they can keep that level of play up, they have a really good chance to win this series.

Miller played hero again for the team, potting a bouncing-puck rebound with 33 seconds left in regulation. After calling himself out last game, and seemingly fighting the puck a bit this game, it was a great moment for the emotional driver of the bus.

“I have faith in myself,” Miller said. “I speak honestly with you guys whether it’s good or bad. I didn’t really like my game the other night. . . and I thought that kind of (translated) into the reason we got scored on at the end of the game. Yesterday and today, I got focussed. I just thought as a team, we played a solid hockey game today.

“I was open for a split second earlier and I'm glad 'Lindy' didn't force it there because McDavid was ready to go the other way and it's one of the ones where we got a nice bounce. 'Petey' went to the net and it hit him in the foot and off the post, and I think I got a little lucky. That puck was kind of all over the place. So, just nice to get rewarded at the end of the game.”

The coach was all praise for Miller after the game, too.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and he’ll tell you when he sucks, he sucks,” Tocc said. “That's what I love about him and there haven’t been many sucks games from him. He has been a monster since I got here.”

After Tocc put the lines in a blender for the game, one person who had eyes all over him was Petey. He hasn’t played up to his level so far: he knows it, the media knows it, Tocc knows it. So when he was moved up to play with Lindholm, the thought was to get him better linemates and spark something in him. Even though he didn’t hit the scoresheet, there was much more energy and action in his game. The crowd was getting behind him throughout the game, chanting his name to bring that energy.

“It means a lot,” Pettersson said of hearing his name rain down. “It's always encouraging to have the fans behind you; I always have that here. But just to hear them chant my name, it just makes me want to work even harder. I thought we had a really good game, our line. Could have scored some goals, but just a step in the right direction.”

If that line starts to click, it would provide some much needed depth and matchup issues for game 6. With the bottom six of the Canucks scoring, the team seemed to be more balanced and aggressive after Tocchet called out and sat some of the passengers. Myers was asked if that had an impact on their play.

“I'm sure it plays a part, yeah,” he said. “There's going to be a lot of ups and downs in the playoffs. Game 4 was not a good night for us. You know, Rick made changes as coaches should. But I thought the guys in the room stepped up and responded. We want to be a team that does that when things don't go our way. We did tonight.”

Apparently the Canucks have not lost back-to-back games since March 28. It seems like Tocc knows what buttons to push to get the most out of this team. He needs to push a few more to get them over the next hurdle, which is closing out a team that’s going to be fighting for their life with McDavid bearing down.

Next game is Saturday night, with an earlier start than normal.

Until then, comments:

(Quotes from MacIntyre, Kuzma, and NHL.com)
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