Edmonton Oilers advance to Stanley CUp FInal, ending drought
(Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)

The Edmonton Oilers are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2006 after a tense 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 on Sunday.

It’s been a long time coming for the Oilers franchise and their passionate fanbase, who have endured plenty of disappointment and frustration over the past 18 years.

But this Oilers team, led by the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, has proven they are a different breed.

McDavid, who is putting together one of the most dominant playoff performances in NHL history with 31 points in 18 games, scored a highlight-reel goal in the first period that set the tone for the Oilers.

“Connor McDavid, doing Connor McDavid things,” goaltender Stuart Skinner said of the goal.

Draisaitl, not to be outdone, assisted on McDavid’s tally and has been a force in his own right this postseason. The German forward has 28 points in 18 games, trailing only his teammate for the playoff scoring lead.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl after winning Western Conference

Draisaitl’s ability to elevate his game in the playoffs is becoming the stuff of legend – his 1.61 points per game in the postseason is second only to Wayne Gretzky in NHL history among players with at least 50 playoff games.

The Oilers also got a huge goal from Zach Hyman on the power play to take a 2-0 lead in the first period. Hyman, who signed with Edmonton as a free agent after spending six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, couldn’t help but take a playful jab at his former team after the game. “I don’t know if Toronto is cheering for us,” Hyman quipped.

Skinner was sensational in net for the Oilers, stopping 34 of 35 shots to backstop his team to victory. The 24-year-old rookie has seized the starting job in Edmonton and proven he can deliver in the biggest moments.

The Stars made a late push, getting a goal from Mason Marchment with under 10 minutes to play to cut the deficit to 2-1. But the Oilers held on down the stretch, stifling the Stars’ attack and riding the raucous energy of the Rogers Place crowd to the final buzzer.

Oilers Path to Cup Final

The Oilers’ journey to the Final has been nothing short of spectacular. After a disappointing start to the season, which saw head coach Jay Woodcroft fired and replaced by Kris Knoblauch, the team rallied and finished second in the Pacific Division.

Edmonton took down the Los Angeles Kings in five games, battled back from a 3-2 series deficit against the Vancouver Canucks, and outdueled the Stars in six hard-fought games.

With the win, the Oilers become just the third team in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final after being 10 or more points out of a playoff spot at any point in the season, joining the 1958-59 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2018-19 St. Louis Blues.

The last time the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup Final was in 2006, when they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games. The franchise has a storied history, with five Stanley Cup championships between 1984 and 1990, but has struggled to recapture that glory in recent years. Now, with McDavid and Draisaitl leading the charge, the Oilers are poised to write a new chapter in their illustrious history.

Canada’s Team?

For the Oilers, this is also an opportunity to end Canada’s Stanley Cup drought, which dates back to 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens hoisted the trophy. The Oilers are trying to become the first Canadian team to win the Cup since then, and they’ll have the weight of a nation behind them.

“Obviously, we’re a Canadian team. We got great Canadian fans, and it feels good to maybe unite the country a little bit and have something to bring people together,” McDavid said. “That’s what sports are all about, bringing people together. And hopefully, we’re doing that for Canadians across the country.”

“That’s what sports are all about, bringing people together”


Connor McDavid

Looking Ahead to Florida

Now, the Oilers will face the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 1 set for June 8 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers, who are making their second straight appearance in the Final, will have home-ice advantage as the higher seed. Florida won both meetings between the teams in the regular season.

The stage is set for a great battle between the NHL’s Northmost and Southernmost teams. According to ESPN, the Stanley Cup Final between Edmonton and Florida will be the farthest apart for two cities in NHL history.

The Oilers, led by the incomparable McDavid and Draisaitl, will look to cap off a magical playoff run with their first Stanley Cup championship since 1990. The Panthers, meanwhile, are hoping to finally break through and claim their first-ever Cup after coming up short last year.

It should be a series for the ages, and one that hockey fans across Canada and around the globe won’t want to miss.