Stanley Cup Final Recap Game 6: Oilers overwhelm Panthers; Force Decisive Game 7 Monday Night

On a night where the Oilers’ generational superstar was held scoreless, it was the depth that shined from the Canadian acclaimed “City of Champions”, to send the best of seven to the limit. A seventh game on Monday night to crown a Stanley Cup Champion.

For the Oilers, they become the third team in Stanley Cup Final history to force a Game 7 after being down 0-3 in a series. The first since the 1945 Detroit Red Wings rallied against the Toronto Maple Leafs, only for Toronto to win the decisive game. It was Toronto who did overcome a 3-0 deficit against Detroit back in 1942, the first ever 3-0 comeback of its kind in professional sports.

Zach Hyman eluded after the game of how the story would not be special unless the job was done. Hyman would go on to say how the comeback would be all but forgotten if the comeback did not reach its completion.

A raucous crowd converged to Edmonton to see if their Oilers could continue their wild journey to wards another chapter to the wild journey.

Part of the journey has been a missing key star, Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl, an MVP in 2020, and constant scoring fixture for the Oilers said that he had not been playing up to his level. Accounting for only two assists in the 8-1 rout in Game 4, the former Hart Trophy made it apparent he would be at his best.

7:27 into the game with the Oilers on the rush, Draisaitl led a saucer pass that found a streaking Warren Foegele who found the top corner of the net to send Rogers Place into pandemonium. Edmonton had dominated play throughout the first period, outshooting Florida 11-2.

The second period continued to carry a wave of intensity, 46 seconds in Adam Henrique finished a 2 on 1 break fed from Mattias Janmark to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.

10 seconds later, the opportunistic Panthers were at it again. Carter Verhaeghe centered a pass to the front of the net where Aleksander Barkov forced in the answering goal 10 seconds later.

But after the goal Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch challenged the play of whether the zone entry was offside. The question was whether Sam Reinhart was completely across the blue line when the puck entered in the attacking end when Carter Verhaeghe led the Panthers attack.

After a brief look, the officials deemed the play to be offside, and the Oilers maintained their 2-0 lead that they initially thought they had lost.

Knoblauch the Oilers head coach said of the challenge, “I actually didn’t think it was that close…we were actually going to call it right away and we had a little more time to review it and were like, Ok. The only hesitation was maybe there wasn’t the right video. It my mind it was definitely offside.”

Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice carried a different tone saying, “There was no way I would’ve challenge that if it was reversed, There was no way I thought you could conclusively say that was offside…I’m not saying it’s not offside…We’ll get still frames bring in the CIA, we’ll figure it out. But in the 30 seconds that I would’ve made that call, I would not have challenged.”

The Panthers did end up outshooting Edmonton 11-4 in the second period, but Aleksander Barkov boasted the best offensive chance that was denied by a pad save from Oiler netminder Stuart Skinner.

But the second period was capped off when Zach Hyman sprung lose after a shot block from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the 50-goal scorer on a breakaway, Hyman lifted a backhander past Sergei Bobrovsky to give Edmonton a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.

The third period saw Florida break the ice early when Aleksander Barkov sneaked by the Oilers defense and tucked a goal past Stuart Skinner to put the Panthers on the board a second time.

The Oilers Ryan McLeod cemented the win with an empty net goal at 16:45, and then Darnell Nurse added a second ENG after Stuart Skinner yanked a save off the Florida goal line for Nurse to put a nail in Florida’s Game 6 chances.

The Oilers won the game 5-1 to force the first Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final since 2019.

Aleksander Barkov said about playing in Game 7, “I think we’re fine, obviously we had three match points, but Game 7, everyone’s dream and that’s why we need to be ready for Game 7”.

Paul Maurice said of the Panthers, “Right now, if you walked into the room, there won’t be a lot of happy people, it doesn’t have to be right tonight. You’ve suffered a defeat. You feel it. It hurts. You lick your wounds, and we start building that back tomorrow. But who you are tonight means nothing to who you’re going to be two days from now”.

The Panthers have Game 7 experience from a year ago when they defeated Boston in overtime 4-3 to knock off the winningest team in NHL regular season history.

The Oilers played in Game 7 this year against Vancouver where they won on the road against the Canucks 3-2.

Said by Leon Draisaitl about game 7, “It’s been a hell of a story so far, but at the end of the day, we play to win and this is going to be the hardest game for us they’re going to come out hard, they’re going to play at home. We have to bring our game again. I’m just really proud of the way we gave ourselves a chance. That’s what it’s all about. But by no means is this going to be easy, a walk in the park. This is going to be the hardest game of the series.”

Connor McDavid after the win remarked, “We’re just excited to keep our season going, that’s what it’s been about. One game at a time, one day at a time. Looking forward to the next one.”

That next one will be Monday night when the entire continent will witness the two best words in sports.

Game 7.

WordPress Image Lightbox