Rivalry builds as much-anticipated playoffs series between Oilers, Canucks begins

Click to play video: 'NHL playoff rivalries ramp up between Edmonton and Vancouver'
NHL playoff rivalries ramp up between Edmonton and Vancouver
The all-Canadian NHL playoff matchup starts on Vancouver's home turf and that means the rivalries will heat up between Canucks and Edmonton Oilers fans. As Jaclyn Kucey reports the competitive spirit can run deep — even in your workplace – May 8, 2024

The wait is finally over. After a week off, the Edmonton Oilers get back to NHL playoff action Wednesday night against the Canucks in Vancouver.

This is the first time since 1992 the teams have faced off in playoff action. At that time, Oilers greats like Craig MacTavish, Craig Simpson, Bill Ranford, Kelly Buchberger and Louie DeBrusk were on the team.

The Oilers defeated the Canucks in six games in that series. The betting odds are in the Oilers favour, but the Canucks ended the season in first place in the Pacific division.

“A lot of the prognosticators are predicting the Oilers are going to win it handily, but we’re down to the final eight teams,” said MacTavish, who was the captain of the 1992 Oilers team. “I think the Oilers are going to beat them but it’s going to be very difficult.

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“Can the Vancouver Canucks beat us? Absolutely. But it’s going to boil down to a few pretty fundamental things — the Oiler penalty killing… If they can continue to stay out of the box and kill the penalties then I think we’re going to win.”

The Oilers and Canucks are the last two Canadian teams standing in the playoffs, and the rivalry between the teams has been building over the years.

“I’m not a big social media guy but I’m not immune to what everybody is talking about and the emotional pleas from both sides,” MacTavish said.

“It looks like it’s getting a bit ugly early. Vancouver has a little bit of a history of going overboard if they get beat – in 1994 by the Rangers and again by the Bruins in the finals. We’ll have to be careful.”

Click to play video: 'Much-anticipated NHL playoffs series between Oilers, Canucks begins Wednesday'
Much-anticipated NHL playoffs series between Oilers, Canucks begins Wednesday

Oilers Entertainment Group president Stew MacDonald said despite the rivalry, he likes the Oilers chances.

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“I think that’s the beautiful part of playoffs and especially if you get rivalry teams – we haven’t played the Canucks in playoffs in decades – so this will allow us, like it did with Calgary a couple of years ago, to just stoke it up that much more,” MacDonald said.

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“There’s nothing like playoff matchups to build big geographical rivalries.”

The bets are on

The Oilers/Canucks rivalry has led to all kinds of friendly wagers, like that between Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and B.C. Premier David Eby. Smith proposed that the loser has to deliver a statement in the legislature written by the winner while wearing the other’s team jersey.

A similar bet is underway between Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim.

In a post on social media, Sim challenged Sohi to fly the Canucks flag outside city hall and wear one of the team’s jerseys, should Vancouver come out of the series victorious. Sohi happily accepted, saying an Oilers jersey is on the way to Sim.

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Even the Global News Morning teams in Edmonton and B.C. are getting in on the action. Edmonton anchors Erin Chalmers and Vinesh Pratap made a wager with Vancouver anchors Sonia Sunger and Jason Pires.

The losing pair will have to wear the jerseys of the winning team on air, as well as read a statement written by the winning morning news team.

Click to play video: 'Global News Morning teams in Edmonton, Vancouver make friendly NHL playoffs wager'
Global News Morning teams in Edmonton, Vancouver make friendly NHL playoffs wager

Sunger faces a bit of a conflict, as she used to live and work in Edmonton. After admitting she does cheer for the Oilers, Sunger said the Canucks come first for her.

“It is a little bit difficult,” Sunger said. “I love Edmonton, I love the people of Edmonton… but when it comes down to the Canucks and Oilers it’s a whole different game. I gotta go with my hometown. There are so many proud Canucks fans here and the city, the whole region, is alive now.”

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“Just to be clear… since I’ve started with Sonia I’ve slowly extracted any oil out of her blood and she’s purely a Canucks fan,” Pires added.

Puck drop for Game 1 of the Round 2 series is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT.

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