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Oilers defeat Canucks 3-2 to end nail-biting playoff series

The Edmonton Oilers survived a late comeback attempt from the Vancouver Canucks to win 3-2 in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series on Monday.

The Oilers will advance to face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final after defeating the Canucks at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.

Edmonton will continue their quest to bring the Stanley Cup home to Canada for the first time since 1993, 370 days since Leon Draisaitl declared the 2023-24 season to be ‘Cup or Bust’ for the team.

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

Two hockey players wearing white celebrate on the ice.
Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, left, and Zach Hyman celebrate Nugent-Hopkins’s goal during the second period. The Oilers put up three goals in the second period against the hometown Canucks. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Conor Garland and Filip Hronek replied for Vancouver. Playing his 10th playoff game, rookie goalie 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 Stars, the best-of-seven series will open at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Thursday.

Fans wearing blue gesture in surprise and shock at a large outdoor event in a park.
A range of emotions were on display as fans packed a public viewing party at Vancouver’s Oak Meadows Park on Monday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

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 played in Game 7 after a two-game absence, while Vasily Podkolzin was left out of the team entirely.

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, Skinner needed to make just two saves in the period.

While the Canucks end the season with a heartbreaking loss, Vancouver finished top of the Pacific Division in the regular season, and it was the first time the team hosted playoff games since 2015.

In January, team president Jim Rutherford said the team needed “major surgery” to start winning again after a disappointing few seasons. But analysts and fans credited coach Rick Tocchet this year for instilling a new culture that saw the team one win away from the Western Conference finals.

Fans gather in front of a large screen in a park, with snow-capped mountains visible in the background.
The public viewing party at Oak Meadows Park was one of the only officially sanctioned viewing parties in Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Comeback attempt comes up short

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.

A group of hockey players wearing blue look dejected on the ice.
Vancouver Canucks’ Ian Cole, front centre, Teddy Blueger, front right, Filip Hronek, back left, and Ilya Mikheyev, back second left, stand on the ice after Vancouver’s elimination was confirmed. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

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.

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.

WATCH | Canucks fans create sculpture of goalie using soda boxes: 

Giant display of Canucks goalie made out of soda boxes draws fans

17 days ago

Duration 1:00

Eric Falkenberg, an assistant manager at a Save-On-Foods supermarket in Kelowna, B.C., has crafted a tribute to the Vancouver Canucks — a towering 4.6-metre sculpture of goaltender Thatcher Demko made entirely of Pepsi boxes.

With the win, the Oilers move to 8-4 all time in Game 7 appearances, while the Canucks fall to 6-7. The Oilers are the first road team to win a Game 7 in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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.

The long series between the Canucks and Oilers prompted an outpouring of support from each team’s fan base, with B.C. fans using creative displays to cheer on their NHL team.

A fan in Clearwater, B.C. made an orca mosaic using granite, shale and black lava. Another fan in Kelowna B.C. constructed a 4.6-metre sculpture of Demko made entirely of Pepsi boxes.

Public viewing parties were packed throughout the Metro Vancouver region throughout the playoff run and Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said it was a great season even before the playoff journey began.

WATCH | Canucks fan creates orca mosaic for playoffs: 

Clearwater, B.C., man cheers on Canucks with orca mosaic

18 days ago

Duration 1:02

A Clearwater, B.C., man is showing his love for the Vancouver Canucks in his yard. He gathered hundreds of rocks — made of granite, shale and black lava — to create an orca. It’s his way of cheering on the team during its playoff run.

The mayors of Edmonton and Vancouver agreed to fly the rival team’s flag at their city hall if their home team fails to win the series. And the losing mayor must wear the winning team’s jersey.

Meanwhile, the premiers of B.C. and Alberta agreed that the premier of the province that loses must deliver a statement in the provincial legislature, written by the winner, while wearing the winning team’s jersey.

WATCH | Edmonton and Vancouver mayors make bet before series: 

Mayors of Edmonton, Vancouver square off before Oilers-Canucks series

12 days ago

Duration 8:10

The stakes are high for the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers, but the teams aren’t the only ones hoping for a win. Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi have their own wager, with the losing city set to fly the rival team’s flag at city hall.

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