Quinn Hughes game 6 TONIGHT bug

VANCOUVER -- Rick Tocchet is telling his Vancouver Canucks players to expect their toughest test of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they try to eliminate the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round on Saturday.

The Canucks coach doesn’t want them thinking about having two chances to do it.

“The message is it's going to be really hard,” Tocchet said after his team held an optional practice in Vancouver on Friday. “And that's all you should be thinking about and whatever it takes to get it done, you do. I've said it a bunch of times, you got to get back to Earth. We really got to get back to Earth. It's going to be our toughest game. That's the way you've got to approach it.”

Vancouver took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series when J.T. Miller scored with 33 seconds left in the third period to give the Canucks a 3-2 win in Game 5 at Rogers Arena on Thursday. Game 6 is in Edmonton on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN). Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Vancouver on Tuesday, but Tocchet doesn’t want his players considering that possibility.

“You can't trick your brain to let your foot off the gas or we got two chances to get this done,” Tocchet said. “You can't think that way. You have to be mentally like a rock.”

The Canucks were able to take the series lead on Thursday through a combination of an improved penalty kill, finally breaking the puck out of their own end cleanly, which allowed them to establish a consistent forecheck at the other end.

Vancouver was outshot 106-58 in Games 2-4 combined but had a 35-23 advantage in shots in Game 5 that included a 17-4 edge in the second period while forcing Edmonton to dump the puck out of their zone more than in previous games.

“Then we're just playing more offense and putting pressure on their [defense] and our forwards are hard to handle when they're moving their feet,” defenseman Quinn Hughes said. “They've done that the entire year and they need it [in Game 6] as well.”

The shift came after Tocchet changed three of his four forwards lines, including moving struggling center Elias Pettersson up and over to right wing on a line with Elias Lindholm, who combined to set up Miller’s late game-winner. He also sat out veteran forward Ilya Mikheyev and replaced him with Vasily Podkolzin, who was making his NHL playoff debut.

Podkolzin played on a fourth line that also featured Phillip Di Giuseppe scoring in his return after missing two games for the birth of his son, and center Nils Aman, who was inserted into the lineup for playoff debut in Game 3. The new-look trio combined for nine hits for the Canucks, who outhit the Oilers 42-20.

Vancouver has registered at least 40 hits each of the past four games and hasa 214-143 advantage in the series, a physical edge Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch conceded because his team wants to play fast rather than chasing hits.

The Canucks are hoping those hits wear the Oilers down as the series goes on.

“We were more physical,” Podkolzin said. “Try to make their [defense] uncomfortable.”

Vancouver also made adjustments on the penalty kill against an Edmonton power play that was 5-for-10 in the first four games of the series and came into Game 5 atop the NHL in the postseason at 46.7 percent (14-for-30). The Oilers only had three shots on the power play and were 0-for-5 in Game 5, the first time these playoffs they hadn’t scored with the man-advantage.

“That's hard to do,” Tocchet said. “That's one of the best power plays I've seen since I've been a coach. They do a lot of different looks, so I give our guys a lot of credit. There were some pressure points we were a little more aggressive [on]. Saying that, they're going to probably adjust a few things, so we got to be ready. It's going to be hard to do. It's hard to shut that power play down.”

Shutting down Edmonton’s power play also goes a long way to slowing down their top players.

Leon Draisaitl had one assist to extend his playoff point streak to 10 games (eight goals, 13 assists), but Connor McDavid was held without a point for the second time in three games and only has one assist since he and Draisaitl each had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 overtime win in Game 2. Like the power play, Tocchet knows it won’t be easy to keep McDavid scoreless again.

“Every game he's dangerous,” Tocchet said. “He's just an unreal player and when you play unreal players, you got to make sure you're ready. … We don't want to take penalties against him, but you want to play aggressive. That's a hard thing to do. You expect that Edmonton is going to play their best, and their individuals are going to play their best. That's the way I expect it.”