July 24th, 2024

Oilers turn Stanley Cup final into a classic, but Canada’s drought continues

By The Canadian Press on June 24, 2024.

SUNRISE, Fla. – An inspired comeback attempt by the Edmonton Oilers turned this year’s NHL final into a classic, but the end result was the same as it has been for decades.

The Stanley Cup is heading south of the border. Again.

Sam Reinhart scored the winning goal as the Florida Panthers hoisted the iconic trophy on the Rogers Place ice following a 2-1 win over the Oilers on Monday in Game 7 of the Cup final.

The Oilers, led by superstar captain Connor McDavid, played inspired hockey for much of the series but fell just short of becoming the first Canadian NHL champion since the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens defeated Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings in five games.

Canadian teams have advanced to the Cup final seven times since then – the Oilers had another crack at it back in 2006 – but none have been able to break the curse.

Instead, the Stanley Cup has taken up residence in some non-traditional markets, including Tampa, Fla., (three times), Los Angeles (twice), Dallas, Raleigh, N.C., Anaheim, Calif., Las Vegas and now Sunrise, Fla.

The top movie at the box office was “Jurassic Park,” Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” was in its fourth week atop the Billboard Hot 100 and McDavid wouldn’t be born for another three-and-a-half years when Habs captain Guy Carbonneau accepted the trophy before a roaring Montreal crowd on June 9, 1993.

The Oilers, who won their last of five Cups in 1990, were also looking to become just the second team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the final. The only team to do that is the 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs.

McDavid, with 42 points in 25 playoff games, was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the playoffs.

While it may be of little consolation to the captain, he is just the sixth player to win the award as a member of the losing team in the Cup final, and just the second skater to do so after Reggie Leach of the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2024.

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