The stage is set. The Vancouver Canucks will play the Edmonton Oilers in round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These two fan bases have been going at it on social media all season long. This will be the third time they have met in the post-season, and first time since 1992. The Oilers have won both previous matchups. So, Canucks vs. Oilers, who will win this highly anticipated matchup this time around?

The Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks had an incredible regular season. They won the Pacific Division with a record of 50-23-9. On top of capturing the division crown, the Canucks also secured their third 50-win season in franchise history. The Canucks were the epitome of consistency. They had a winning record in every month with the exception of February. They were 5-6-2 in that month. The Vancouver Canucks are led by head coach, and Jack Adams award finalist, Rick Tocchet.  

The Canucks became the 1st team since the 1972 Chicago Blackhawks to win a series with three different goalies all registering wins during their round 1 victory against the Nashville Predators. The Canucks have missed the playoffs three straight years before this season.

Many people wrote off the Canucks at the start of the season, but now they have advanced to the 2nd-round of the playoffs. Despite having home ice advantage, the Canucks are still listed as underdogs in this series against the Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers

While many people wrote off the Vancouver Canucks at the start of the season, those same people predicted the Edmonton Oilers as Stanley Cup favourites. The Oilers got off to an atrocious start, going 2-9-1 in their first 12 games. They had to battle extremely hard just to get back in the playoff picture. They had a mid-season coaching change, and a historic winning streak which propelled them back in the mix. The Oilers ultimately finished 2nd in the Pacific Division with a record of 49-27-6. The Oilers have made it to the 2nd-round of the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row. The previous two seasons, the Oilers lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions.

Head To Head

The Vancouver Canucks dominated the Edmonton Oilers this season. They were a perfect 4-0, outscoring the Oilers 21-7 in the process. With that said, this is the playoffs, and regular season success does not always translate to playoff success. If you need proof, look no further than the round 1 matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets. This season, the Jets were 3-0 against the Avalanche, outscoring them 17-4. However, the Avalanche dismantled the Jets in the playoffs, defeating them in 5 games.

Who has the edge in this playoff series? Let’s take a look at this all-Canadian matchup.


This goaltending matchup is very interesting, and comes with some uncertainty. The Oilers will rely heavily on Stuart Skinner. He had a rough start in the first 2 games against the Kings in round 1, but rebounded nicely, only allowing 1 goal on the road in games 3 and 4. In 5 games, he has a 2.59 goals against average, .910 save percentage, and 1 shutout. If Skinner can be solid between the pipes, the Oilers are in a great position to win this series.

With Thatcher Demko out with an injury, The Canucks need to rely on Casey DeSmith and Arturs Silovs to hold down the fort. It looks like Silovs is going to be the guy until Demko returns. He was fantastic against the Predators, posting a 1.70 goals against average, .938 save percentage, and 1 shutout in his 3 games. He looks calm, and composed in the net. So far, he has handled the playoff pressure extremely well, and if he can channel his nerves against the Oilers, he can potentially lead the Canucks to a series win, similar to Adin Hill last year.

If Demko does not return this series, the Oilers have a slight goaltending advantage. There is too much uncertainty with Silovs since he is relatively unproven. Skinner’s playoff experience and setbacks makes him a perfect candidate for a bounce back performance these playoffs.


Edmonton’s defense core is essentially the same that lost in round 2 to the Vegas Golden Knights last season. The addition of Mattias Ekholm at last year’s deadline was huge. Not only does he make their blueline better, but his presence has drastically improved the play of his defence partner, Evan Bouchard. Bouchard is able take more risks in the offensive zone because he has Ekholm as his safety net. This has resulted in a career year for Bouchard. He had 82 points during the regular season, and 9 more against the Kings these playoffs.

The Pair of Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci has been inconsistent at times. The Oilers need Nurse to be at his best if they want to beat the Canucks. He needs to start earning is $9.25 million cap hit. The Oilers failed to upgrade on Ceci at the trade deadline, and hopefully that does not come back to haunt them.

For the Canucks, they are led by captain, Quinn Hughes. Hughes had a remarkable season, recording 92 points in 82 games. He is the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy this year. The rest of the Canucks defense brings size and physicality to the lineup as my colleague Bailey Speirs mentioned in his preview of the Predators-Canucks series. Nikita Zadorov is 6’6 248 lbs, Tyler Myers is 6’8 229 lbs, Carson Soucy is 6’5 208 lbs, and Ian Cole is 6’1 225 lbs. Those are some big boys that are extremely tough to play against.

The big question is can their defense neutralize the speed of the Oilers forward group? If they can, that will go a long way in ensuring a Canucks victory. Give the defensive advantage to the Canucks.


The Oilers forward group is deeper than previous playoff runs. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl consistently show up when the games matter the most, and I don’t expect that to change this series. The Oilers also have great complimentary pieces to their lineup including Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evander Kane, and the newest acquisition, Adam Henrique. This lineup can score, and they have the playoff experience to go on an extremely deep run.

The Canucks also have a deep forward group that consists of J.T Miller, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Elias Lindholm. They need more from their core forwards in round 2, especially Elias Pettersson. Pettersson signed an 8 year contract worth $92.8 million during this season. He was held to just 3 assists against the Predators, and was a minus 2. He is a big part of their future, and they need more from him going forward.

The Canucks didn’t generate nearly enough offense against the Predators in round 1. They only managed 13 goals in 6 games, getting outshot 150-121 in the series. Nashville isn’t an offensive juggernaut, so they will need a better offensive effort against the high flying Oilers if they want to come away with a win. However, give the forward advantage to the Edmonton Oilers. Simply because they have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and the Canucks do not.

The Biggest X Factor

The biggest X Factor this series is special teams. The Oilers dominated the special teams’ battle against the Kings. They were perfect on the penalty kill, and were 45% on the power play. The Kings didn’t have an answer. The Canucks need to stay disciplined, and play the majority of the series 5 on 5. They were able to get away with taking penalties against the lacklustre Predators power play, but the Oilers will make you pay.


Ultimately, the experience of the Oilers will prevail. The Oilers have been right in the mix the last few years, losing in the Western Conference Finals in 2022 and losing in the 2nd round in 2023. They have faced a ton of adversity the last few seasons, and that has only made this team stronger. They have learned what it takes to win in the playoffs. The Canucks will be back in this position, but right now it is not their time.

Oilers in 6.

Canucks vs. Oilers game 1 goes down Wednesday night in Vancouver.