Every kid who played hockey or road hockey has dreamed of playing in a game seven. When you’re young, you don’t worry about semantics. It didn’t have to be game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, but rest assured when you were playing shinny on the outdoor rink, or backyard pond, whether you played with friends, or were stickhandling by yourself, you played out a scenario where you scored the game winning goal in game seven. I never played goalie, even in road hockey, but I assume goalies created a scene in which they made a Curtis-Joseph-like save to preserve a victory.
Which man will fulfill his childhood dream tonight? His teammates will celebrate wildly, while the losing team will be devastated.
There is nothing in sports quite like a game seven. The combination of anticipation, excitement and anxiousness streams through the body of players, coaches and fans, and it lasts all day. Once the puck is dropped it intensifies even more.
The players try not to think about it too much, but when the lie down for their pre-game nap they will visualize playing well, and for some their inner child will creep into their psyche and they will see themselves or their team scoring the winning goal. You don’t think about the alternative, you only focus on victory.
Game seven is also a wonderful experience for a fan.
“What do you think happens tonight?” will be asked and answered among friends, family, co-workers and even subtle acquaintances during every encounter. You’ve likely already decided on who will score the game winning goal. As a child, you always envisioned yourself scoring the game winner, and even though you aren’t playing tonight, you likely have, or will, play out a similar scenario. But this time, an Oiler will be the envisioned hero. Every fans in Oilersnation will have a different player scoring. Ultimately, Oilers fans won’t care who scores the game winner, as long as he isn’t a member of the Anaheim Ducks.
How will the game unfold? Who knows, but the uncertainty grips everyone involved from those of you who play, to those who cheer to those who have to cover it.
Maroon – McDavid – Caggiula
Lucic – Draisaitl – Slepyshev
Pouliot — Nugent-Hopkins — Eberle
Desharnais – Letestu – Kassian
Klefbom – Larsson
Russell – Benning
Nurse – Gryba
Oscar Klefbom returns to the lineup, but his health will determine if he plays on the top D pairing with Adam Larsson, or if he starts on the third pair with Eric Gryba. He skated with Gryba yesterday.
Rakell – Getzlaf – Perry
Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg
Ritchie – Vermette – Wagner
Kerdiles – Thompson – Holzer
Fowler – Montour
Lidholm – Manson
Theodore – Vatanen
Nate Thompson didn’t play in the final 23 minutes of game six. He didn’t skate yesterday and the Ducks recalled Sam Carrick from the AHL. Thompson will play tonight, but he isn’t 100%.
- Oilers have allowed a goal in the first two minutes of a game seven four times. Here are some more Game 7 thoughts and tidbits.
- The Eberle-RNH-Pouliot matchups become even more favourable due to injuries to the Ducks bottom six. If they can’t take advantage of them tonight, then they only have themselves to blame. They Ducks bottom six consists of Ritchie, Vermette, Wagner, Thompson, Kerdiles and either Carrick or Holzer, who is a natural D-man. This is a matchup that favours the Oilers and RNH’s line needs to show up and exploit it.
- If Klefbom isn’t 100% I’d start him on the third pairing and if he plays well then I’d move him back up. I thought Nurse was fine in game six with Larsson, so I wouldn’t force minutes on Klefbom.
- This Connor McDavid photo is awesome. We can all relate to having an awkward photo.
McDavid had this funny response to the picture today. Good for him, and as funny as the picture is, we should learn to respect people’s space. Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean you have the right to cling on to them. Just my two cents.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I had Oilers in seven at the start, so I’ll stick with it. Oilers win 4-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Draisaitl scores another goal. He has eight goals in eight games at the Honda Centre and he makes it nine in nine.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Darnell Nurse scores his first NHL playoff goal.
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