Where the Vancouver Canucks have an advantage over the Edmonton Oilers
© Bob Frid

The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are set to finally start their second round matchup on Wednesday, and a lot of people seem to be favouring the Oilers in this series. But, you can’t count out a Canucks team that has looked strong all season, and they may have the defensive chops to handle the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Jeff Paterson joined Frank Seravalli and Tyler Yaremchuk to talk about what parts of the Canucks game can be utilized to beat the Oilers.

Jeff Paterson: Well structure has been a buzz word since Rick Tocchet took over and the Canucks showed a lot of it. They gave up 12 goals in 6 games against the Nashville Predators. But McDavid has been shredding structures since he first stepped on NHL ice, so it’s a little different. You can talk about your structure and believe in your structure, and in one shift McDavid can just zip right through the middle of it and do things single-handedly.

So the Canucks recognize that you can try to game plan for McDavid, obviously this is a deeper Oiler team than just McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but I do think the Canucks believe in the way that they play, the system that they play and the way that they defended in front of three different goaltenders.

So, goaltending is going to be a huge storyline at both ends of the ice here. Arturs Silovs, the Cinderella story, is the clock about to strike midnight? So far so good for him and he’s looked like the moment hasn’t been too big. He’s going to get the start in Game 1 and we’ll see where it goes from there.

I do think the discipline is a huge storyline, and the Canucks talked about it yesterday after practice. They recognize that if they run into penalty problems, you’re essentially giving the Oilers goals and the Canucks can’t afford to do that. Although their penalty kill, to me, was the unsung hero of their first round win over the Predators. They killed off 20 of 22 power plays in a series that was razor-tight.

It still seems to me a little bit mind-boggling that the power plays were 22-13 in favour of the Predators, including 7-2 over the final two games. So I think the Canucks want to draw a few more power plays of their own and try and spend time on the power play, which wasn’t great against the Predators.

But their penalty kill was lights out good, led by 35-year-old Ian Cole, who logged six minutes of shorthanded ice time, more than anybody else on this hockey club. That’s one of the reasons they went out and got a guy that had the Stanley Cup pedigree and a relationship with Jim Rutherford and Patrik Alvin and Tocchet from their time in Pittsburgh. And I thought the veteran faded a little down the stretch, but he showed his playoff chops in Round 1 against the Preds.

You can watch the full episode here…

This article first appeared on Daily Faceoff and was syndicated with permission.

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