‘Flush this game’: Vancouver Canucks head coach preaches short memory, eyes on Game 7

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All season long, the Vancouver Canucks have preached resilience.

Now comes the ultimate test.

After an ugly 5-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, the Canucks need to once again showcase their ability to bounce back as the two teams prepare for a decisive Game 7 on Monday in their second-round playoff series.

The series is tied at 3-3 in the best-of-seven matchup.

“Our job, right now, is we got to flush this game,” said head coach Rick Tocchet. “Obviously, some guys know that they need to play better. And you’ve got 48 hours to get your energy back. That’s just the way it is.

“It’s a Game 7. People would kill to be in this situation right now. And we’ve got to act like we want to be in that situation.”

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Closing out a series against the Oilers was never going to be easy, said Canucks right-winger Brock Boeser, noting it took Vancouver two chances to eliminate the Nashville Predators in the first round.

“I think we knew this (second round) was going to be a hard series from the start and it’s gone back and forth,” he said.

“I think that’s the beauty of playoff hockey. We’ve got to forget about this one, focus on playing better in the next game and bringing that effort.”

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Vancouver hasn’t lost back-to-back games since March 25 and 28, but the stakes haven’t been higher this season, either.

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Monday’s winner will face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final. The loser will be eliminated from the playoffs.

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Vancouver needs to treat Game 7 like any other game and as a great opportunity, said Canucks captain Quinn Hughes.

“If you told us we’d have this opportunity in September, we probably would have taken it. We probably would have taken it three or four weeks ago as well,” he said. “We’ll be excited.”

The Canucks know they had room for improvement on Saturday.

Edmonton outshot Vancouver 27-15, and the Oilers blocked another 12 attempts. The Canucks also had 25 shots miss the net.

“I mean, it’s not a recipe for success,” Elias Pettersson said of his team’s shot total.

“We’ve won games when we have not many shots. But it is what it is. They won (Game 6). It’s a seven-game series for a reason. I’ll focus on that.”

The Oilers also smothered the Canucks’ power play once again, with Vancouver going 0-for-4 with the man advantage. The Canucks haven’t scored on their last 12 power plays going back to Game 3.

“Not good enough,” Hughes said. “And we’re going to have to be ready to go. We want to be at our best when it really matters. And we’re going to need to do that.”

A veteran of 145 NHL playoff games as a player, Tocchet is well aware of what it takes to win in tough situations.

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He wants his players to stick together heading into Monday’s game. He wants them to take short shifts and play with desperation.

“These are big moments and you’re looking for guys to want it, want that big moment. Don’t be scared of it. Go after it. That’s my advice to everybody,” the coach said.

“There’s a lot of players and teams that are going to be watching that game. I think we play the game as players to be on that stage. Play like you want to be a hero on Monday. That’s what I think.”

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