Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB – With the ways we’ve seen the momentum shift during this second-round series in both directions, both the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks won’t want to let their focus slip at any moment to keep their opponents from exploiting any advantage on Sunday night.

Because in the postseason, every mistake you make has a chance to come back to bite you and become the difference in the game.

“The mindset in playoffs is that you have to be sharp every time you're out there because one moment, one mistake can be the difference maker in a game, and we expect a tight one again tonight,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “But we’re excited to be back on home ice.”

The Oilers are feeling positive about where their game is as the series shifts to Edmonton tied 1-1 after they erased three separate one-goal leads in Game 2 on Friday before completing the 4-3 victory over the Canucks two nights later in overtime off the stick of Evan Bouchard.

The fight-back attitude of the Oilers was showcased in their resiliency coming back from one-goal deficits on three separate occasions, including over a dominating final frame where they outshot Vancouver by a 15-2 margin. But they’re not quite ready to say they’ve reached peak playoff form.

With the chance to build on that rousing victory on the road at Rogers Arena, there’s an expectation within the Oilers dressing room that the time is now for them to use that mental fortitude to their advantage and showcase they’re the better team in this all-Canadian showdown against the Canucks.

Ryan talks with the media ahead of Game 3 on Sunday night

“I think the way that we fought back every time they went up one the other night is a good indication of how we can play and how we need to play,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We've shown it a lot during the season about winning those tight games and not needing to score five, six goals to win every game, and we can win those tight ones that are low scoring, too.

“I still believe that we have another level to get to here. We expect that from ourselves tonight. But, I mean, we're going to keep getting better.”

The same goes for the Canucks, who want to get back to the confidence they operated with in Game 1 when they faced a three-goal deficit late in the second period, but they stuck around and rallied for a comeback 5-4 victory.

Edmonton is expecting a much different Vancouver team with the routine of the road and their resolve at their disposal, pushing them towards trying to play with a lot more attention to detail tonight – much like how the Los Angeles Kings upped their intensity against them when their backs were against the wall in Round 1.

"I think we'll see their best, for sure," Nugent-Hopkins said. "Every game you come in, you have the plan of being at your best and sometimes, it's just not there; early in the series maybe, but as the series goes on I think it gets easier to find your best game.

"So I think they'll be good tonight, and we saw it last round, too. Los Angeles came up a couple of games late in the series when they're desperate and they're hungry and the pace takes to another level. So I think we know what to expect there."

Quinn talks to the media before Sunday's Game 3 in Edmonton

Defenceman Quinn Hughes mentioned that Vancouver isn't focusing intently on being able to lock down leads like the ones they established on three different occasions in Game 2. Alternatively, the Canucks' captain and his teammates want to begin with a strong first shift and have that build into a full 60-minute effort, which will naturally keep the mistakes to a minimum.

"I don't think anyone's talking about buckling down with the lead," Hughes said. "I mean, they have some really good players and they're going to make plays, and that's what happened [in Game 2]. And then as far as tonight, we're just worried about having a really good first period, having a good first shift, and playing the way we want to play and then trying to do that for the full game."

Nugent-Hopkins mentioned the importance of the minor details and how they can have a major impact.

"It's not just game to game. It's shift to shift. It's period to period," he said. "You have to be consistent and it's your effort, but also, just the mentality of how you're going to eventually break them down. We've been able to do it at times, but we can definitely stick to it and find ways to win like that."