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Oilers focus on Saturday's game, try to ignore prospect of elimination from playoffs

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They're on the verge of being eliminated, but there's only one thing the Edmonton Oilers can do, says their coach: Remain focused.

"Just stick with it, not get frustrated," head coach Kris Knoblauch told media Friday morning before the team travelled back to Edmonton for Game 6 of their playoff series on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks

"I think we've done a good job of that. Stay focused, but being able to make a play, staying composed."

The Oilers lost Game 5 3-2 on Thursday, with the Canucks ahead in the best-of-seven matchup three games to two.

One more loss eliminates Edmonton.

"Vancouver was the better team (Thursday) night," Knoblauch said of Thursday's showdown at Rogers Arena in which the host Canucks commanded play over the final two periods, leading to J.T. Miller's winning goal with less than a minute left.

"Through a series there's going to be times or games where the other team is better, especially a team that finished with over 100 points in the regular season. That was their game, and they were better than us last night. We'll have to find a way to be better for Game 6."

Oilers star Leon Draisaitl said Thursday he's trying to keep his focus on just the next game.

"We've got to win. Go home and win one game at home," the National Hockey League's leading playoffs scorer told media.

"That's all we have to do ... Focus on (Saturday), bring our best, get a win and come back here (to Vancouver)."

The Oilers' recent history in Game 6s in which they were facing elimination makes it difficult to forecast what to expect on Saturday.

While they won the final two games of their 2022 first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings to advance, the Oilers fell short last year in their six-game, second-round battle with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Draisaitl is keeping the 2022 series win over L.A. in mind but isn't contemplating it extensively.

"We've been down 3-2 in a series before and ended up winning the series," he said.

"That's something to look back at, but consider all these series ... their own history and their own story a little bit."

Knoblauch said he would consider changing the Oilers' lineup by bringing in "fresh legs" if that's something he and his coaches feel "will help our team."

"I think there are adjustments (to make)," Knoblauch said.

"Whether those are the lines, a fresh body or two coming in ... those are things we'll assess and make that decision." 

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