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Oilers Triumph Over Canucks in Thrilling Game 7

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Oilers team cheering their moment.

The Edmonton Oilers are proving they’ve got more players who can score besides just Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

After securing a spot in the Western Conference finals, Connor McDavid, with a slightly tired voice, shared what was probably on everyone’s mind about his team’s recent game.

We really know how to keep it tense, McDavid told Sportsnet, summing up the feelings of many fans.

McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers faced some tense moments late in the third period as the Vancouver Canucks managed to score two goals, putting pressure on their three-goal lead.

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However, despite the Canucks’ late surge, the Oilers remained resilient and secured a narrow 3-2 victory on Monday in Game 7 of the second round series.

Next up, the Oilers will hit the road to Dallas, where they’ll go head-to-head with the Stars in the conference final. The winner earns a ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. This marks the Oilers’ second journey to the conference final in the last three years, highlighting their consistency in the playoffs.

Evan Bouchard (2) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) of the Edmonton Oilers celebrate after assisting on Zach Hyman’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Monday, May 20, 2024.
Evan Bouchard (2) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) of the Edmonton Oilers celebrate after assisting on Zach Hyman’s goal. Against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Vancouver. British Columbia, on Monday, May 20, 2024.

Meanwhile, the Stars back for another shot at the title, having reached the conference final in consecutive seasons.

The Oilers took a commanding lead in the second period with three goals from Cody Ceci, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This flurry of goals indicated that they were just one period away from securing their spot in the conference final.

The Oilers’ comfortable lead put in jeopardy when Conor Garland scored, narrowing the gap to 3-1 with less than nine minutes remaining. Then, with just under five minutes left in the third period, Filip Hronek found the net, bringing the Canucks within striking distance at 3-2 and injecting new energy into their game.

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In response to Hronek’s goal, Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch made a quick decision to call a timeout. This move praised by McDavid for several reasons.

I thought it was a fantastic timeout, McDavid shared with reporters. “Even Darnell [Nurse], he was rallying everyone together, showing excellent leadership. That’s what he does, he’s a top-notch leader. He’s a big presence in our locker room and displayed superb leadership by bringing everyone in. It just calmed everyone’s nerves, and we were able to finish the game strong.”

Another crucial aspect of the timeout was its role in preventing what could have been another comeback by the Canucks. This pattern began in Game 1 when the Oilers surrendered a three-goal lead and ended up losing 5-4.

It seemed to set a trend, with the Canucks winning three consecutive games after trailing. However, on Monday, that narrative took a different turn.

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Following the timeout, the Canucks faced difficulties setting up in the Oilers’ zone and struggled to generate clear scoring opportunities. Dylan Holloway made a crucial block on Nikita Zadorov’s shot, while Leon Draisaitl used his stick to disrupt passing lanes, preventing the Canucks from creating effective plays.

Finally, Zach Hyman sealed the deal by blocking Filip Hronek’s last-ditch attempt with just three seconds remaining, securing the Oilers’ victory.

They’re a solid team, you give them even a sliver of opportunity, they’ll capitalize, Nugent Hopkins commented. But I’m proud of how we stayed focused, kept our cool, and supported each other through it all.

As for the Canucks, the loss in Game 7 marks the conclusion of a season that began with uncertainties but evolved into one of the most successful campaigns in the club’s history.

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The choice to let go of Bruce Boudreau in January 2023 and bring in Rick Tocchet brought about a period of adjustment for the Canucks. This transition resulted in some challenges as the team adapted to a new coaching style.

Under Tocchet’s leadership, the Canucks managed to secure victories in 20 out of the 36 games he was in charge last season.

Tocchet’s coaching methods had a significant impact on the Canucks as they entered the 2023-24 season. What began as an early season surprise quickly transformed into a team with genuine aspirations of competing for the Stanley Cup.

Following a split in the first two games of their quarterfinal series against the Predators. So, the Canucks found themselves in tightly contested matchups. Nearly all of their remaining playoff games decided by just a single goal, showcasing the team’s resilience and determination on the ice.

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Man, this is tough. I’ve had losses back in my junior days that still keep me awake at night, Garland expressed. “This one’s going to sting for a while.”

The Canucks’ ability to rally and tie the game, despite falling behind early, is noteworthy. Especially considering they were missing star winger Brock Boeser. Boeser, who at 27 led the team in both goals and points, sidelined for Game 7.

The decision came after reports surfaced on Sunday revealing a blood clotting issue in his leg. Which preventing him from taking part in the crucial match.

Losing Boeser on the eve of one of the most significant games in franchise history added to the challenges. So, the Canucks faced in a postseason already marred by adversity. Throughout the playoffs, they were deprived of their star goaltender and Vezina Trophy finalist Thatcher Demko. Who sustained an injury after Game 1 and missed nearly every subsequent game.

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Despite these setbacks, the Canucks maintained their resolve. Following the game, they reiterated that the absence of Boeser wasn’t an excuse for their defeat. By echoing a similar sentiment expressed earlier regarding Demko’s injury.

I’m not feeling sorry for us. My heart goes out to Brock, J.T. Miller emphasized. He’s put in the hard work all season long and had his best year yet. I’ve seen firsthand how much he’s grown as a player since he joined us. He’s the kind of guy who gives everything, even blocking shots with the goalie pulled.

It’s gotta hurt for him not to be out there today, and I empathize with him. Right now, it’s not about us. It’s about standing by him.

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