Instant Reaction: Oilers advance after Game 7 thriller in Vancouver

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
Never in doubt.
The Edmonton Oilers have advanced to the Western Conference Final following a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7. Next up, they’ll face the Dallas Stars.
For the sixth time in the series, the Oilers opened the scoring as Cody Ceci, of all players, beat Artūrs Šilovs with a slapshot. Believe it or not, he is the first Oiler defenceman in franchise history to score two Game 7 goals, as he scored the series opener in Game 7 of the first round in 2022 against the L.A. Kings. Ceci’s got that clutch gene in him! 
The Oilers increased their lead to 2-0 later in the second frame. The fourth line hemmed in the Canucks in their own zone before a line change to the McDavid line. Evan Bouchard uncorked one from the point, and Zach Hyman tipped it in front of the net to make it 2-0 for the Oilers.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored what wound up being the game-winning goal on the power play in the latter part of the second period. Bouchard’s original shot missed the net, but the puck bounced out to RNH, who was waiting on the other side of the net. His fourth goal of the series put Edmonton up by a score of 3-0.
It looked as if the Oilers were gonna coast to a 3-0 win, but the Canucks got a rally going in the third frame. Ryan McLeod had an awful giveaway right in front of his own net, and Conor Garland capitalized. This turnover brought Vancouver back to life. 
The Canucks then scored with just under five minutes left in the third period, as Filip Hronek beat Skinner with a slapshot, making all of Oiler Country nervous. 
However, unlike the Miracle in Nashville, the Canucks were unable to find the game-tying goal. Head coach Kris Knoblauch called a timeout to calm the Oilers down and they were able to shut things down in the final minutes of the third period. 

Things worth mentioning…

The Oilers won this one without a point from Connor McDavid. All four of Edmonton’s lines were engaged and pushing play forward. This was a good team win.
Evan Bouchard is better than Quinn Hughes. I made that point in the last Instant Reaction, but Bouchard finished the series with four goals and 11 points to Hughes’ five assists. Impact-wise, Bouchard was all over the score sheet and made one flub in Game 5, but he was fantastic on his own end as well.
The Oilers penalty kill has been nothing short of spectacular this postseason, as they allowed just three goals in the series in 22 attempts. Add on the Los Angeles Kings series, where they didn’t allow a goal, and they are 31/34 in penalty kill attempts.
Stuart Skinner was better than his .882 save percentage indicated, as he made numerous important saves through the first two periods. Realistically, he didn’t have much chance on either of Vancouver’s goals, and I’d expect the team to play him against Dallas.
Ryan McLeod was reunited with Derek Ryan and Warren Foegele, which was one of the more impressive lines during the 2023 postseason. However, that was a brutal giveaway from McLeod to let the Canucks back into the game.
Up next: The Oilers will play in their first Western Conference Finals since the 2022 postseason, as the Dallas Stars will host Game 1 on Thursday at 6:30 PM MT. Edmonton hasn’t won a game in the Conference Finals since 2006, but hopefully, they can overcome a very deep Stars team that finished at the top of the conference standings.

If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.


Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway.

Watch Oilersnation After Dark on YouTube

Failed to load video.

Check out these posts...