Canucks star out for Game 7 against Oilers with blood-clotting issue

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks
Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks will be forced to play their biggest game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs without their best postseason player. Brock Boeser is out for Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday with a blood-clotting issue. His status for the remainder of the playoffs is unknown, should Vancouver advance to the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars. 

After playing in Game 6 but missing practice Sunday for what was said to be a maintenance day, news of the blood-clotting issue in his leg leaked. It’s a tough break for the Canucks and Boeser, who established NHL career-highs in goals (40) and points (73) during the regular season and leads the team with seven goals and 12 points in 12 playoff games. 

The 27-year-old forward’s impressive postseason play was highlighted by a Game 4 hat trick against the Nashville Predators in the first round as well as a three-point performance in just a single period in Game 3 against Edmonton. 

It’s a massive loss for the Canucks, who are only scoring 2.58 goals per game in the playoffs, compared the Oilers, who average a League-best 3.91 goals for and are led offensively by superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Canucks coach Rick Tocchet is preaching confidence, as well as desperation, ahead of the do-or-die Game 7. 

“The word desperation, everybody uses for a Game 7,” Tocchet explained. “Desperation is not just running around and panicking. Desperation is: There’s certain spots you have to be in, there’s plays that you have to make, there’s plays where you have to get the puck out. That’s desperation.”  

Related: Western Conference Final schedule, dates, times, TV info

Canucks already have thrived following Thatcher Demko injury

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers
Third-string goalie Arturs Silovs has come up big in the playoffs for the Canucks. — Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that the Canucks have going for them is that they are no strangers to injury adversity. They lost their starting goaltender, and Vezina Trophy finalist, Thatcher Demko to an unspecified injury in the very first game of the playoffs. They then lost backup goalie Casey DeSmith two games later to injury. Third stringer Arturs Silovs has been stellar filling in for Vancouver, and now has a chance to be the hero in Game 7.

If the Canucks are going to be successful, they will need to continue to rely on that next man up mentality in order to thrive without Boeser. In addition, their big name players will have to step up. 

One of those players is Elias Pettersson, who has had a quiet postseason after scoring 34 goals and 89 points in the regular season. In 12 playoff games, Pettersson has just one goal, coming on the power play, and five assists. It’s expected he will move up to take Boeser’s place on a line with J.T. Miller and Pius Suter, meaning the spotlight will be on the struggling Pettersson in Game 7.

Part of that responsibility comes on the defensive side of the puck, where Boeser and Miller have played a lot against McDavid and/or Draisaitl in this series.

But it’s a no excuses League. So, the Canucks must make do and find a way to win Monday at home or have the rest of the summer to think about what-ifs.

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