June 12th, 2024

Oilers advance to Western Conference final with 3-2 win over Canucks

By Carol Schram, The Canadian Press on May 20, 2024.

Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, front left, scores against Vancouver Canucks goalie Arturs Silovs (31) as Filip Hronek (17) and Edmonton's Zach Hyman (18) and Leon Draisaitl (29) watch during the second period in Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Monday, May 20, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – It’s been 370 days since Leon Draisaitl declared the 2023-24 season to be “˜Cup or Bust’ for the Edmonton Oilers.

They’ll continue their quest to bring the Stanley Cup home to Canada for the first time since 1993 after Edmonton’s 3-2 win in Game 7 over the Vancouver Canucks.

Cody Ceci, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for the Oilers, while Stuart Skinner made 15 saves.

Conor Garland and Filip Hronek replied for Vancouver. Playing his 10th playoff game, Arturs Silovs made 26 saves for Vancouver.

Vancouver was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Edmonton was 1-for-2.

With the win, Edmonton advances to the Western Conference final for the first time since 2022. Facing the conference champion Dallas Stars, the best-of-seven series will open at American Airlines Center on Thursday.

After learning that their leading goal-scorer, Brock Boeser, was sidelined due to a reported blood-clotting issue, the Canucks were forced to juggle their forward lines on Monday. Sam Lafferty and Ilya Mikheyev drew in for Game 7 after a two-game absence, while Vasily Podkolzin was scratched.

Silovs was the story of the first period, stopping all 13 shots he faced. Though the Canucks were awarded the first power play of the game late in the opening frame, Stuart Skinner needed to make just two saves in the period.

Ceci opened the scoring on his team’s first shot of the second period, with a slap shot from the right point that beat Silovs high to the glove side at 1:16. The Oilers then went on their first power play, and Hyman scored his playoff-leading 11th goal by tipping an Evan Bouchard point shot to Silovs’ stick side at 5:20.

Nugent-Hopkins extended the lead to 3-0 with a sharp-angle shot at 15:22. It was Edmonton’s first power-play goal in three games.

Garland ignited the crowd at 8:33 of the third period, breaking Skinner’s shutout bid with an unassisted shot from the slot. The Canucks amped up the pressure, and Hronek got the home side within one with his first goal of the playoffs, with 4:36 left in the third. But the comeback bid ultimately fell short.

With the win, the Oilers move to 8-4 all time in Game 7 appearances, while the Canucks fall to 6-7. Edmonton is back in the Western Conference final for the second time in three years, the only Canadian team to reach the final four since the Montreal Canadiens reached the Stanley Cup final in the abbreviated 2020-21 season.

The Canucks were making their first playoff appearance in front of fans since 2015, when they fell in the first round to the Calgary Flames. Despite losing Vezina Trophy nominee Thatcher Demko to injury after the first game of Round 1, the Canucks advanced past the first round for the first time since the 2020 playoff bubble.

The Oilers hold down the top three spots in the playoff scoring race through two rounds. Leon Draisaitl leads the way with 24 points in 12 games, Connor McDavid has 21 and Evan Bouchard leads all defencemen with 20 points.

NOTES

The Oilers are the first road team to win a Game 7 in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs. “¦ Edmonton used the same lineup that delivered Saturday’s 5-1 win. “¦ Edmonton’s last Game 7 appearance came in the first round of 2022, when McDavid posted a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings. “¦ Vancouver’s last Game 7 was a 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2020 bubble. “¦ Alex Edler, the Canucks’ franchise leader in points by a defenceman, cranked the siren at Rogers Arena before the game. “¦ Actor Owen Wilson was on hand in the stands.

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