Stanley Cup Final | The Oilers are one victory away from an improbable comeback

(Edmonton) A Stanley Cup championship worthy of a movie is within reach of the Edmonton Oilers.


Posted at 2:59 p.m.

Donna Spencer

The Canadian Press

Connor McDavid’s squad is only one victory away from rewriting the history of the National Hockey League, while a seventh game against the Florida Panthers, which seemed improbable a week earlier, will take place Monday at Sunrise.

No team since the first expansion in 1967 has lifted the cup after trailing 3-0 in the final. Only the Toronto Maple Leafs have done it, 82 years ago. Counting all rounds, three other teams erased three-game deficits: the New York Islanders (1975), the Philadelphia Flyers (2010) and the Los Angeles Kings (2014).

The Oilers could win their first cup in 34 seasons and become the first Canadian team to get their hands on the silver bowl since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.

The Stanley Cup final will be played in a seventh game for the 18e time, and the first since the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins in 2019.

While the Oilers have avoided elimination in the last three games and are 5-0 in such playoff encounters, the Panthers get a fourth and final opportunity to win a first Cup after losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games in last year’s finals.

Despite the Panthers’ three straight losses, Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch isn’t ready to say his team will be any less nervous.

PHOTO JEFF MCINTOSH, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch

“I don’t know what’s going on on their side, I don’t know how they’re handling things, so I don’t think it’s fair for me to comment on their position,” he said Saturday.

“My experience with my team, the way we handled the bad games, we went through some tough times. We played two of those games against Vancouver and I have a lot of confidence in our team in how they responded and played in those games. »

“When we found each other [à 3-0] against Florida, I saw a very confident group in which there was no panic, no despair, just a lot of concentration. I liked our team going 3-0 and I really like where they are now. »

Scoring the first goal in a match is desirable at any time. That reality was amplified in Edmonton’s three straight victories in which they scored first — including two shorthanded goals — to take the lead over the Panthers.

Doing it again on Monday could have a devastating impact. The team that scores first is 12-5 in Game 7 of the Finals.

“When you score first, it takes away a lot of nerves,” Knoblauch said. It also forces opponents to open things up a little more and maybe not play with as much defensive structure as they would like simply because they are trying to get back into the game and are forcing themselves to score the next goal. »

“It takes a little pressure off our team. »

While McDavid’s contribution was at the center of the victories in the fourth and fifth games, the captain did not put his name on the scoresheet in the sixth.

PHOTO SERGEI BELSKI, USA TODAY SPORTS VIA REUTERS CON

With 42 points since the start of the playoffs, Connor McDavid is a serious candidate for the Conn-Smythe Trophy.

It was Warren Foegele, on a slick pass from Leon Draisaitl in the first period, and Adam Henrique who gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead.

The Alberta team has also spent 46 of its last 47 sequences shorthanded.

“The fact that we can win the faceoff to punt is a big help, just because we do a really good job on our forecheck,” said Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner.

“We keep their players out [de l’enclave] and when they have their chance, our players block shots. »

Read “Panthers aren’t worried until the 7the match ”

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