The Canucks equalize in the final two minutes before Bouchard notches the winner with 38.1 seconds left to seal a 3-2 victory for the Oilers in Game 4 on Tuesday that evens the series

By Jamie Umbach


May 15, 2024

EDMONTON, AB – It was a dramatic finish, but we're going back to the West Coast with an even series thanks to Evan Bouchard's late heroics.

After the Canucks scored with their net empty to tie it at 2-2 on a deflection off Dakota Joshua with less than two minutes remaining, Leon Draisaitl set up Evan Bouchard to score the game-winner on a wrist shot that snuck through goaltender Arturs Silovs with 38.1 seconds left in regulation, sealing a 3-2 victory for the Oilers in Game 4 at Rogers Place on Tuesday night.

"Emotions are definitely high in both games," Bouchard said. "I think this one shows that we battled as a team. They got the important second goal on us at the end, but it showed we didn't have any quit in us. We didn't have time to sulk, and we got a big goal."

The Oilers tie the series with Bouchard's last-minute game winner

Goaltender Calvin Pickard held down the crease with 19 saves for the Oilers, picking up his first-career NHL playoff win in his first post-season start in the League after making only five professional appearances in the playoffs over the previous 12 years of his career prior to Tuesday -- four in the AHL and his brief relief appearance in the third period of Game 3 this past weekend.

"I was trying to channel my emotions as much as I could," Pickard said. "Obviously, it's tough. It's a high-stakes game and a huge game for us, but I felt comfortable right from the get-go. We had great energy early, the crowd was into it, and we played great all night. They got a couple of good bounces, but it didn't deflate us and it was a huge goal at the end."

"I don't know if it's quite sunk in yet," Pickard added. "It's a big win for us. It's been a long time since making my debut and I haven't gotten much playoff action at either level, but it's an exciting opportunity for me. The guys played great in front of me and now it's the best-of-three."

Draisaitl and Bouchard each finished with a goal and assist to help deliver Edmonton's response to Sunday's defeat with their fourth straight victory in Game 4 over the past two postseasons, with Bouchard scoring his second goal of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the last minute after netting the overtime winner in Game 2 last Friday in Vancouver.

"When our backs are up against the wall, that's when we show what we're capable of," Bouchard said. "The experience we've had the past couple of years helps in this situation, but we know what we have in [the dressing room]. We know it's a special group, and we can't let this slip."

The series shifts back to Rogers Arena in Vancouver for Game 5 on Thursday night tied at two games apiece.

Paige & Cam discuss Tuesday's 3-2 Oilers win in Game 4


Edmonton's resolve to come out more desperate than the Canucks and even the series on home ice was proven right from the opening shift when the reunited top line of Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid and Hyman created a chance only 49 seconds in off a cross-crease pass from the Oilers captain meant for Hyman that forced Silovs into making a sliding blocker save.

Edmonton's penalty kill came up with a stop on their first call to action inside the opening six minutes before the Oilers took to their first power play near the midway mark of the frame when Draisaitl was held by J.T. Miller on the boards.

The German created the man advantage for his team and would inevitably finish it, accepting McDavid's cut-back feed from the slot to the right circle and hammering a one-timer that creeped inside the post to lift the Oilers into a one-goal advantage at 9:50 of the first period.

McDavid sets up Draisaitl on the PP to make it 1-0 Edmonton

Draisaitl's tally makes him the first Oiler since Mark Messier in 1988 to begin a postseason with points in nine straight games, while the power-play goal for Edmonton was their 32nd in their last 21 playoff contests.

The Oilers would put themselves in a tough position to protect that lead when Evander Kane got the stick up on Tyler Myers in front of the Canucks' net to earn himself a double-minor for high-sticking, but the penalty kill came up with the vital intervention to keep Vancouver off the board – including a toe save by Pickard against Garland inside the blue paint before he covered up the loose puck.

Edmonton's penalty kill finished the night 2-for-2, with their biggest contribution coming when they kept the Canucks to only one shot during Kane's double minor. Mattias Janmark actually got the best chance of the entire kill, getting loose on a fast break for a breakaway but having his shot saved by the right pad of Silovs.

"Our special teams were great," Pickard said. "The penalty kill, obviously with that early kill, we didn't give them much. And then the double-minor, it's a pressure point in the game and we fed off the crowd and got a lot of clears. I think they only got one shot on us, so that was a big kill for us at the right time and we're looking to bring that kill in the next game."

Leon speaks to the media after Tuesday's thrilling 3-2 win


Pickard came up with the saves he needed in the opening two periods to keep the Canucks off the scoreboard, with the Oilers pushing their chances to the perimeter before they were able to push forward near the end of the middle stanza and double their lead.

The Oilers were isolated low in their zone around the four-minute mark off a Canucks' dump-in that created a two-on-one and an open look forTeddy Blueger at the right circle dot, but Pickard absorbed the shot and froze the play to allow Edmonton to settle themself with a face-off.

The Canucks hemmed the Oilers into their own end for stretches with their relentless forecheck, breaking up passes and extending shifts during the middle stages of the frame to generate their best stretch of the period, but Pickard helped settle his teammates before they began turning it on the Canucks.

Mattias addresses the media following Tuesday's victory

"I wouldn't say frustration, but I definitely think that we deserved a couple more goals falling our way; or maybe a bounce or two going in to really take the game over and make it three-nothing," Draisaitl said. "But their goalie was playing really well, and you've got to continue to fight sometimes until the last second... I think in the second, we lost our game a little bit for a couple of minutes, – a five or six-minute span – and they made some nice plays and hemmed us in a little bit. That's gonna happen. They're a good team."

Darnell Nurse would break through the neutral zone with speed near the 11-minute mark and throw a backhand on net that Silovs turned aside before the puck arrived back on his stick behind the net, leading for a chance for the defenceman to sneak it short-side before Silovs slid across the crease to defend it.

It would take Mattias Ekholm taking a hit to make a play at the Canucks' blueline to provide the breakthrough for the Oilers with 39.8 seconds left in the period when the Swede was flattened by Noah Juulsen on a neutral transition, but the puck was pushed ahead to Nugent-Hopkins to create a two-on-one with McDavid.

Nugent-Hopkins looked off his captain and went low blocker with his shot that struck the inside of the far post to beat Silovs for the 2-0 Oilers lead before the intermission, with the goal extending No. 93's career-best playoff point streak to five games (1G, 6A).

Calvin & Evan talk to the media after Tuesday's thrilling win


"We're going to finish the 60 minutes, and now we're not going to want to sit back," Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said post-game.

With the Canucks trailing by two heading into the final frame, the Oilers had to be expecting their push that arrived when the visitors cut into the home side's lead on a shot by Conor Garland that caught a piece of Darnell Nurse in its way through, putting Edmonton on high alert with 13:06 remaining before Vancouver's equalizer ultimately came with their net empty in the period's final three minutes.

The Canucks won an offensive-zone draw at six-on-five and worked the puck to Brock Boeser in the left circle before Vancouver's leading playoff scorer eluded the attempted block by Vincent Desharnais and had his effort strike Dakota Joshua in front to tie the game with 1:41 left in regulation, taking the air out of Rogers Place for a moment with the late equalizer.

Luckily, Edmonton still had time on the clock and the focus needed to push on to find a late winner.

"Definitely wasn't ideal giving up that second one in the third," Bouchard said. "But there wasn't much time to sulk and think about it. We had to go out and still finish the period."

Bouchard beats Silovs with 38 seconds remaining in regulation

The Oilers kept offensive-zone possession in the final minute when Ekholm kept it in at the blue line with his skate, leading to Draisaitl getting hte puck and offloading it to Kane for a blocked attempt before it was given back to the German behind Vancouver's net with 43 seconds left.

"We put two guys out who were fresh. Kaner and Dylan had been playing well with the lead at the end of the game, and Leon put that line together and it was nice to have the fresh legs to go in there and forecheck and create the turnover," Knoblauch said. "There's a lot of good plays on that one, but it starts with Kaner on the forecheck."

Draisaitl found an open seem through the middle to send a pass up to Bouchard between the circles, letting fly a wrist shot that beat Silovs under the right arm with 38.1 seconds left to blow the roof off Rogers Place in celebration of the last-gasp winner after it looked destined for overtime.

"Leon made a great pass to Bouch and he makes a great shot, but also, the little subtlety is Ekholm keeping the puck in the blue line," Knoblauch said. "I believe he used his skate to keep that in, and usually, it's not just one guy making a nice play."

"We did a great job getting to the net," Bouchard said. "We were preaching on that all game of getting to the net and getting the dirty goals, so kudos to our forwards for battling in front. It's a tough job getting in front of the goalie, and I saw a lane and took it."