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Oilers back from the dead but the job’s not done, send the Stanley Cup Final to Game 7

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baggedmilk
26 days ago
The Oilers won two straight elimination games to force Game 6 at Rogers Place, and if they were going to fight another day, they needed to play their best game of the series. Not only did they do that, but the boys also sent the Rogers Place faithful off into the weekend with a commanding 5-1 win. The job’s not done, but it’s unbelievable to watch what the Edmonton Oilers have done.

WARREN FOEGELE STEPS UP AGAINST

Warren Foegele was a healthy scratch for five games before being re-inserted into the lineup, and you have to love how the guy has responded to the opportunity. With the goal he scored in the first period, Foegele put himself on a four-game point streak where he collected five points (2G, 3A) when his team desperately needed him to contribute. Foegele had a hell of a season in 2023-24, but the start of his playoff run was way too quiet. Instead of sulking about being scratched, McLovin popped back into the lineup and gave the Oilers effective offensive minutes.

ADAM HENRIQUE IS SO CLUTCH

When Adam Henrique was missing games with the high ankle sprain earlier in the playoffs, you couldn’t help but think how much it sucked that our significant deadline acquisition couldn’t help when we needed it most. Last night’s goal was a snipe just inside the post, and I don’t know that he could have placed it any better from where he shot that puck. Henrique has been fantastic since he came back against the Stars, chipping in with three goals and a pair of assists. With his goal at the 46-second mark of the second period, Henrique has goals in the last two home games that were massive at the moment. That’s pretty damned good for a guy who has settled in as the centreman in what has been a very effective third line for Edmonton. I love the guy, and

ZACHARY MARTIN HYMAN DOES IT AGAIN

Zach Hyman scored his first goal of the series in Game 5 after Evan Bouchard knocked one in off his shinpad, I wondered if that little bit of luck was what he needed to get going. With the puck on his stick and time winding down, ZMH broke in alone and perfectly executed his deke to the backhand. Hyman had a plan and crushed it even with the back pressure from the Florida d-men, and Bobrovsky couldn’t back in fast enough to get all of his blocker on the puck. That goal was his 16th of the playoffs, which is a number that brought him to 70 total goals on the season. Ridiculous number.

THAT KRIS KNOBLAUCH CHALLENGE

I can’t lie. I did not think the Oilers would get lucky on the offside challenge by Kris Knoblauch in the second period. That thing was so close to being onside that I thought there was no way in hell the goal was getting called off. I was stunned when the ref waved it off; that stuff usually goes against us. So when the two-goal lead was restored, it was hard not to feel like the Oilers got a massive break. I thought it was offside, but I’m also incredibly biased.

STUART SKINNER STANDS TALL

It wasn’t the busiest night Stuart Skinner will ever have, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t fantastic when the Oilers needed him to be. The boxscore tells us that he stopped 20/21 shots and finished with a .952 save%, but the bigger picture was that he outduelled the two-time Vezina winner at the other end again. Despite the countless doubters, Skinner has locked it down when it mattered most, and he acts as the foundation for an Oilers team that looks undeniable right now.

THE BARKOV GOAL

If the plan was to make the game interesting, they did an excellent job of making it happen when they gave Sasha Barkov a clear lane to net that he did waste. That 3-1 goal he scored was a beauty, but I couldn’t help but be frustrated by the way the Oilers made a rare defensive mistake with their coverage. It’s like the only mistakes they’re making are massive, and that missed assignment on Barkov was certainly one of them. Thankfully, the Oilers didn’t pay for their mistake in the end but those are the mistakes that are tough to swallow in the moment.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING….

-Do the people love back-to-back empty netters for the Oilers by Ryan McLeod and Darnell Nurse to lock in the win? Yes. Yes, we do.
-I love Mattias Janmark and I don’t care who knows it. As the playoffs have rolled on, Janmark has been a part of some massive moments that have directly contributed to this three-game winning streak. The points, timely PKs, and relentless forecheck have been a blessing on the that third line.
-The crowd at Rogers Place was absolutely bananas, and while I watched the game from my house, you could feel the energy through the TV. Talking to a couple of people I know who were there, you could barely hear yourself think and that noise didn’t disappear until well after the final buzzer.
-I can’t be the only one that got nervous every time the McLeod – Ryan – Perry line got on the ice, was I? There’s no way. That trio is a heart attack every shift they take.
-Digging into the special teams, the Oilers went 0-for-3 on the power while killing off 3-of-3 shorthanded situations they faced. The big story has to be how the penalty kill has handled 46 of the last 47 penalties they’ve faced.
-The Oilers struggled all series long in the faceoff circle, and that trend did NOT continue in Game 6 with the boys winning 52.6% of the draws they took.

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