Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks are tied at one game apiece heading into Game 3 of their second-round series at Rogers Place on Sunday.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet & Hockey Night in Canada at 7:30 p.m. MT or listen live on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Subscribe to Oilers+ to unlock the Pre-Game Show that will begin 30 minutes before puck-drop, along with more exclusive live and behind-the-scenes content.

Game previews during the 2024 Oilers playoffs are presented by Pizza 73 🍕

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Kris speaks with the media before flying on Saturday morning

PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Canucks (Game 3)

EDMONTON, AB — Overcoming adversity is nothing new for the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. The opening two games of this all-Canadian series have proven to be microcosms of their respective seasons.

In Game 1 as the betting underdog, the Canucks overcame a three-goal deficit against the best team in the NHL since Nov. 24. The beauty of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is anything can happen. Heroes can emerge. On that occasion, Dakota Joshua powered Vancouver to a 1-0 series lead by continuing his strong post-season form with a three-point night.

And on other nights, it’s the usual suspects.

The two best players in the world played as such on Friday in Game 2 for the Oilers. Amongst the sea of blue and green at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl turned the tides of this series in enemy territory. Each recorded a goal and three assists and factored in on all four of Edmonton's goals – including the assists on Evan Bouchard's overtime-winning tally at 5:38 of overtime.

“They're hungry,” said teammate Mattias Ekholm post-victory. “They know what's at stake. They always bring out the best in players and bring out the best in themselves during these kinds of situations. We knew this was a huge game for us. And again, they're the top two players in the world in my mind, and when they put on a show like they did tonight when they bring their A-game, they're hard to stop.”

Tony & Jack break down Friday's exhilarating OT win in Game 2

Head Coach Kris Knoblauch deployed his two superstars for a combined 55:17 in Game 2, but the cerebral bench boss knows he can’t lean on McDavid and Draisaitl that heavily every night before he factored in the importance of returning to Edmonton with the series split at one game apiece.

“It alleviates a lot of pressure,” shared Knoblauch, after having a little time to digest the game on Saturday morning. “Not getting one would have been tough for us going back to Edmonton, almost [setting up] a must-win Game 3, but anytime you go into another building to start the series and you get the split, you'd say it's a success.”

Of all players who've played at least 10 career playoff games, Draisaitl (1.66) and McDavid (1.64) sit second and third in points per game respectively behind only Wayne Gretzky (1.84). The Dynamic Duo owns identical totals of 90 career playoff points in 56 games following their four-point explosions on Friday.

“We’re seeing two of the greatest Stanley Cup point producers in the history of the game,” 630 CHED’s Jack Michaels shared on Oilers TV on Friday. “They factored in on all four of Edmonton’s goals. They were a threat every time they were on the ice.”

A deeper look into the numbers only backs up this sentiment. An Expected Goals For (xGF) of 81.91 percent alone tells you how much the ice was tilted in favour of the Oilers with their top line on the ice. It’s even more impressive when considering Draisaitl's status as a game-time decision in the lead-up to puck drop.

“We didn’t even know if (Draisaitl) was going to play until after the warm up,” explained Knoblauch. “We really didn’t know.”

Teammate Warren Foegele gave the hockey world a glimpse into the dynamic of McDavid and Draisaitl and how the two push each other to be great in a post-game media availability on Friday.

“They're obviously two of the best players in the league, but it's their work ethic,” said Foegele when asked about the elevation of their games in the playoffs. “These guys work super hard. In the summer, I train with them and they're always competing, always working up early and they work on their craft.

“They don't just show up in the regular season, they show up for the playoffs.”

The standard has been set by not only the two best players in the world, but the leadership group as a whole — an extended leadership group that includes Ekholm, who explains to achieve great things, processes require tremendous effort, patience and discipline.

Those are all traits the Oilers will need to continue exhibiting in Game 3.

“I think the moment calls for patience,” urges Ekholm. “I mean, you look at the first round with these guys. They kept it to low-event, low-shot volume kind of games, and they've been trying to do that here, too. We knew that going in, so patience is key for us to getting looks. But again, the way we played in the third, I thought we got a lot of looks. I thought that we just kept coming. And their goalie played well. But I think if we keep playing like that, we're going to find success.”

Mattias talks to the media after the Oilers win in Game 2


Hockey games – more so playoff series – are dictated by micro-investments over a period of time. Every shot, hit, save and goal (among the many outcomes that each shift presents) adds up. If teams do enough of the small things correctly, they’re likely to find more success. Knoblauch has demonstrated a firm understanding of this with his ‘process over results’ focus and mindset. Hockey 101.

Since his arrival in Edmonton, Knoblauch has been consistent in this approach and the numbers have followed.

The Oilers boast an incredible 51-19-6 record since Knoblauch took over a 3-9-1 hockey team on Nov 12. Upon his arrival, McDavid, Foegele and Connor Brown — players who've previously played under Knoblauch — articulated his ability to empower his players and bring a group together. Fast forward six months later, the Oilers captain’s tone is much aligned with the consistent descriptors we heard back in November.

“Everybody was pulling on the rope,” McDavid described following Game 2. “It was everybody. We earned that win and can feel good about that, but as I said, it's just one and then we move on.”

Connor speaks to the media following Friday's 4-3 overtime win

Collectively, the team moves onto Game 3 with belief and perhaps, more importantly, momentum.

Overcoming three separate one-goal deficits mirrored some traits Vancouver displayed in Game 1. Fittingly so, Canucks Head Coach Rick Tocchet described his team’s effort as “resilient.” This Oilers group has also consistently showcased it throughout this season. Friday night was no different.

“I thought there was lots of resilience,” McDavid explained following his four-point night on Friday. “I thought we were maybe a little bit unlucky to be down going into the third, but we stuck with it. We hung in there all night. I thought everybody battled so hard to get this one.

“Feels good to be tied.”

The two best teams in the Pacific Division are set to meet for the seventh time this season. The Oilers have a 29-5-4 record (regular season and playoffs) at Rogers Place since Knoblauch took over the bench.