“We can get the job done”: Canucks ready for dangerous Oilers power play

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The Vancouver Canucks have a near-impossible task on their hands as the second round of the playoffs approaches.

They’re going to try to slow down the elite Edmonton Oilers power play. It’s a challenge that they’re well aware of and preparing for diligently. It may make the difference between advancing to the next round or going home early.

“It’s very unique with that skill set over there,” said Dakota Joshua after practice today. “You’ve got to be on your toes and ready for everything. You can do as much video as you want, but until you get out there and have to react against what they’re doing, [it] will be the tell-all.”

“Our PK’s going in the right direction, and I expect us to give them a hard time and limit their opportunities.”

The Oilers power play finished fourth in the regular season at 26.3%. They have stars like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, and Evan Bouchard on the top unit. Those are four of the most skilled players in their positions.

“The set plays they have aren’t the difficult part, it’s when they beat pressure, they attack,” explained Canucks coach Rick Tocchet. “They’re so underrated. Everyone talks about their talent, yeah, McDavid’s unreal, we all know that, but their attack mentality is as good in the league. Once they sniff something, it’s there.”

“Back door play, slot play, Bouchard one-timer, that can happen in one play. You’ve got to pick your poison and give them hopefully the least dangerous play.”

The Oilers usually take their power play to another level in the postseason. The unit converted on 45% of its opportunities against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round and was at 46.2% across two rounds last playoffs.

“High-end skill,” said defenceman Ian Cole when asked about the Oilers power play. “The way that they can, certainly move, but make plays while they play with such speed. They have some big-time shooters out there. They have a great net-front presence. It’s a very unique and certainly world-class power play.”

“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge, but again, I think we’re confident in here, and I think we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we were scared of them.”

The Canucks penalty kill was one of the team’s biggest strengths in the first round against Nashville. The unit clicked at 90.9%, the third-best mark in the postseason.

“We know our reads need to be crisp, we know pucks are going to be going to the net at some point, and there’s going to be some low plays,” said Cole about the challenge the team’s penalty kill is facing. “There’s going to be a lot of shots, we’re going to need to block them, we’re going to have to win battles around the net.”

“It’s a simplified formula, but it’s one that works if we can get the job done.”

The series starts tomorrow as the Canucks and Oilers face off in Game 1 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The hype has been building, and both fanbases are ready to go.