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Oilers Defeat Panthers to Force Thrilling Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final

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Oilers defeat to Florida Panthers in Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final.

Connor McDavid did not score any points but Leon Draisaitl and the other top players on the Edmonton Oilers stepped up. Which brought Oilers to defeat Panthers of the Stanley Cup.

Draisaitl made his mark in the final by assisting on Warren Foegele’s early goal. Then Adam Henrique and Zach Hyman each scored in the second period. The Oilers secured a 5-1 victory by defeat the Florida Panthers in game 6 on Friday night forced to a decisive Game 7.

Draisaitl said, we play to win and this will be our toughest game yet. We need to bring our best again.

The Oilers are only third team to tie the Stanley Cup Final after being down 3-0 in the series. Before this the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1945. On Monday night in Sunrise Florida and the Oilers have a chance to become the second team ever. After the 1942 Toronto Maple Leaf to come back from that deficit and win the Stanley Cup.

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We always believed we could pull through, no matter what happened, Hyman said. Even in tough times, we felt we had a chance. It was a long, challenging season that prepared us for this. The next game will be the hardest. It’s amazing to do this in front of our fans and to have a chance to win now. This is our first shot at winning.

After down 3-0 in the series the Oilers have bounced back by score five or more goals in three straight games. The longest streak in a Stanley Cup Final since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991.

This chance to make hockey history and end Canada’s 30-year Cup drought is thanks to McDavid’s heroics. By scoring four points each in Games 4 and 5 to bring the Oilers back from the brink. This was the first time in his nine-year career that Edmonton won a game without McDavid scoring a point or taking a shot on net.

Draisaitl, McDavid’s longtime teammate from Germany and a former league MVP, made a big impact in Game 5 after not playing well against the Panthers earlier.

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Ryan McLeod of the Edmonton Oilers scores against the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta, as the Oilers win 5-1 to tie the series.
Ryan McLeod of the Edmonton Oilers scores against the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta, as the Oilers win 5-1 to tie the series.

“He’s a powerhouse,” said defenseman Darnell Nurse. “He always shows up when it matters most. In the playoffs, he’s one of the best ever.”

Draisaitl got the puck at center ice, maneuvered around the Florida defenders. And passed it perfectly to Foegele for an easy tap in goal that Sergei Bobrovsky had almost no chance of stopping. The fired-up crowd of over 18,000 fans chanted, “Ser-gei! Ser-gei!” in mockery.

Bobrovsky, known as “Bob,” wasn’t entirely at fault. Defensive mistakes led to a 2-on-1 rush where Henrique scored off a perfect pass from Mattias Janmark. The Panthers, once dominant in reaching their second consecutive Final and winning the first three games. So now stand on the brink of their first franchise title despite appearing nervous and unsteady.

“We have one game left,” said Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. “We were ready for a seven-game series from the start, and that hasn’t changed. As we won three games, they won three games. Now it’s up to us to win at home.”

Florida had just six shots on goal midway through the game and finished with 21. Goalie Stuart Skinner, always reliable for the Oilers, made crucial saves, only letting in a goal by Aleksander Barkov less than 90 seconds into the third period marked an important role to defeat Panthers.

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“He’s been incredible when we’ve needed him,” Janmark said about Skinner.

The first time Barkov scored, just 10 seconds after Henrique, the goal was disallowed because Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch successfully challenged for offside. After a long review, it was determined that Sam Reinhart had entered the offensive zone a fraction of a second before the puck, which led to a roar from the fans.

“I actually didn’t think it was that close,” Knoblauch said. “In my mind, it was clearly offside.”

That wasn’t the loudest the crowd at Rogers Place got, though; there were many moments that could compete for that honor. The noise level in the arena peaked at 113.8 decibels when the Oilers took the ice to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” as shown on the video screens.

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The noise level might have rivaled that when Ryan McLeod and Nurse scored empty-net goals in the final minutes. Fans chanted “We want the Cup!” as celebrations erupted, including wild scenes at the outdoor viewing party.

It was the peak excitement of a city that was buzzing with blue and orange downtown hours before the game. Friday felt like a holiday in Edmonton, a city of nearly a million people now daring to dream of the Oilers winning another championship in an unexpected way.

“We’re thrilled to keep our season alive,” McDavid said. “That’s been our focus: one game at a time, one day at a time. Looking forward to the next challenge.”

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