VAN postgame 51824

EDMONTON -- Rick Tocchet’s recipe for success in Game 7 has as much to do with will as it does with skill.

And if that translates to chomping on some rubber to get a victory, so be it.

“For me, it means a lot of short shifts, a lot of desperation,” the Vancouver Canucks coach said after their 5-1 loss the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place Saturday. “The puck comes around the wall, if you've got to put that puck in your mouth and skate it out, you've got to do it.”

The Canucks didn’t do anything close to that in Game 6. They had no appetite for it. They were outplayed, outshot, outclassed for the majority of the evening. In fact, their loss was the first time in the best-of-7 series, which is now tied 3-3, that a margin of victory was more than one goal.

None of that matters now.

Not the previous six games. Not the combined score. Not momentum. None of it. As Tocchet pointed out, the slate is wiped clean.

As such, what better stage could there be?

Monday is a holiday in Canada, one known as Victoria Day here north of the border. It is a day that culminates with fireworks going off in the sky across the country from coast to coast.

This time there will be an added celebration, a Game 7 between two Canadian teams at Rogers Arena in Vancouver (9 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS) to decide what already has been an epic back-and-forth, topsy-turvy matchup in which no team has won consecutive games.

Win, and a date with the Dallas Stars looms in the Western Conference Final. Lose, and you’ll have all summer to muse over what might have been.

For the Canucks, that means time to reset after managing just 15 shots compared to Edmonton’s 27.

“Our job right now is to flush this game,” Tocchet said. “Obviously some guys have to play better. But now you have 48 hours to get your energy back. That’s the way to do this Game 7.

“People would kill to be in this situation right now. And we have to make sure we want to kill it and be in this situation. We are a good bounce-back team and I expect some bounce back.”

To be fair, the Canucks played almost a perfect road period in the first, a low-event 20 minutes in which the teams managed just four shots each and exchanged goals via Edmonton forward Dylan Holloway and Vancouver forward Nils Hoglander.

Nevertheless, there were still some warts in Vancouver’s game early on.

Firstly, Tocchet wanted to see more pucks directed from the opening face-off at Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner, who had been benched the previous two games after allowing 12 goals on 58 shots in the first three. Rather than make Skinner handle pucks early to see if he was shaky or lacked confidence, the Canucks generated little offense or zone pressure.

Secondly was a misfiring power play that failed to register a shot on Skinner in two first-period chances, part of a rather forgettable 0-for-4 evening.

And when the Oilers responded with goals from forward Zach Hyman and defenseman Evan Bouchard just 4:06 apart midway through the second to put Edmonton up 3-1, the Canucks never really gave the impression they could come back, even after getting a two-man advantage near the end of the period.

“I didn’t like our second period,” Vancouver forward Elias Pettersson said. “I think they took over the game.

“They wanted it more.”

Something the Canucks cannot allow to happen in Game 7 if they want to fulfill their aspirations of advancing, especially in front of what is sure to be a deafening home crowd in Vancouver.

There will be no last-minute savior coming in the form of Thatcher Demko either. Vancouver’s No. 1 goalie, who’s been out with an undisclosed injury since the Western Conference First Round against the Nashville Predators, has been back on the ice working out again, but Tocchet said he will not be available for Game 7.

The Canucks have not played a Game 7 at home in 13 years, their previous one coming in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at Rogers Arena. On that night, they lost 4-0 and had to endure the heartbreak of watching commissioner Gary Bettman hand the Cup to Bruins captain Zdeno Chara on their own turf or, in this case, ice, as it were.

Vancouver is hoping for a better Game 7 outcome this time around. They are 6-6 all-time in such win-or-go-home situations, including 4-3 on home ice.

Cue the dramatic theatre that awaits come Monday.

For their part, the Canucks can’t wait.

“If you told us in September we’d have this opportunity, we would have taken it,” captain Quinn Hughes said. “We would have taken it 3-4 weeks ago as well.

“We’ll be excited.”

Just as much of the country likely will be.

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