Oilers slip past Stars 2-1, advance to Stanley Cup final | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Oilers slip past Stars 2-1, advance to Stanley Cup final

Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston (53) and defenceman Esa Lindell (23) look away as Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal with teammate forward Zach Hyman (18) during first period of Game 6 of the Western Conference final of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton, Sunday, June 2, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Original Publication Date June 02, 2024 - 7:41 PM

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers are headed to their eighth Stanley Cup final in franchise history.

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist as the Oilers punched their ticket to the championship series with a somewhat shaky 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday, winning the best-of-seven Western Conference final in six games.

Zach Hyman also scored and Evan Bouchard had a pair of assists for the Oilers, who will face the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup series — marking Edmonton’s first appearance in a Cup final since 2006, when it fell in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

“There were a lot of painful years and a lot of learning along the way,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl of making it to the final. “To be able to do it at home and for this city and for these fans, and for ourselves as well, it’s great. It’s a great feeling, of course.

"That being said, of course, we’ve got bigger dreams and bigger goals right now.”

Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner made 34 saves for the win, giving him a 4-0 record in potential series-clinching games in his career.

“First of all, he was unbelievable tonight,” McDavid said. “We’re not sitting up here talking about a win if it was not for him. We’re on a plane to Dallas (for Game 7) if it wasn’t for Stu.

"He’s gone through lots. He’s still such a young goalie, but he’s gone through so much. A lot of people doubt him, a lot of people don’t say the nicest things about him, but he is an elite goaltender in this league. He showed that tonight, he showed that over the course of the year and the playoffs. He loves proving people wrong and he certainly did that.”

Mason Marchment replied for the Stars who lost out in the conference final for the second consecutive season. Dallas outshot Edmonton 35-10 in the game.

“We’re just gutted,” said Stars head coach Pete DeBoer. “They did leave it all out there, we should be playing for a Game 7. Have to give Edmonton credit for their power play, in particular over the last two games was good. Their goaltending was good.

"It’s fine lines when you get to this time of the year. I thought we had a little bit of an off night in Game 5 and they won and they had a bit of an off night tonight and they still found a way to win. That’s the difference. Post in overtime in Game 1. I don’t know what to say. Tough to swallow.”

Edmonton’s 10 shots are the lowest in NHL history in a series-clinching game.

“I would probably argue that was our best game of the series,” said forward Jamie Benn. "Didn’t go our way.”

The Oilers sent their first shot of the game past Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger on the power play 4:17 into the first period, and it was a beauty. McDavid did a toe drag and stepped inside a pair of defenders before sending a backhand into the net for his fifth goal of the post-season. Defenceman Bouchard picked up his 20th assist of the playoffs on the goal.

The Oilers power play struck for the fourth time in its last five attempts after failing to get a goal in the first four games. With 4:18 remaining in the opening frame, McDavid dropped a pass back to Hyman in an open lane and he picked the top corner for his playoff-leading 14th goal.

The Stars came close to getting one past Skinner when Roope Hintz hit a post with eight minutes to play in the second period. Dallas outshot the Oilers 21-8 through 40 minutes.

Dallas made it a one-goal game with 10:42 to play in the third period as Tyler Seguin was able to send a pass from behind the net out front to Marchment, who notched his third goal of the post-season.

The Stars threw everything they had at the Oilers in a furious final 10 minutes, but Edmonton was somehow able to hang on.

Edmonton went 16:13 between shots on goals in the second and third periods.

The Oilers were called on to kill three penalties. They have now killed off 28 in a row.

“This is obviously exciting,” said Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “This is what we play for. There is a lot of work left. We are going to face a good team. We know who we are playing already, which is kind of nice.

"We’ll soak it in and enjoy it tonight. We have all week to get ready.”

NOTES

Dallas inserted AHL scoring leader Mavrik Bourque in place of forward Ty Dellandrea. It was just Bourque’s second game, having made his NHL debut on April 6. … Edmonton also flipped a pair of forwards as Derek Ryan subbed in for Sam Carrick. … McDavid became just the sixth player in NHL history to accumulate 30 points in more than one playoffs. Preceding him to the feat were Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Mario Lemieux and Nikita Kucherov. … Edmonton sat in 31st out of 32 teams in the NHL standings in November with a 3-9-1 record and fired head coach Jay Woodcroft. They then went 46-18-5 the rest of the way under new coach Kris Knoblauch. … Dallas forward Joe Pavelski played in his 33rd potential elimination game. Only four skaters in NHL history have played in more.

UP NEXT

The Stanley Cup final begins Saturday in Florida. At 4,089 kilometres between Edmonton and Sunrise, Fla., it's the longest distance between Stanley Cup final opponents in NHL history.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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