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The Day After +20.0: Oilers look to do what only three teams have in Stanley Cup Finals history

Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers
Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers will seek to do something only three other teams in NHL history have done: win the Stanley Cup after losing the first two games of the finals on the road.
The first team to do it was the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, and the third was the 2011 Boston Bruins. But there are parallels between the second team to do so in the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Led by a young Sidney Crosby, held pointless through the first two games of the series, the Penguins were able to roar back in the series, winning both Games 3 and 4 at home by a score of 4-2. In them, Crosby’s performances helped lead the charge back to victories. He had an assist on Sergei Gonchar’s game-winning goal in Game 3, while scoring the game-winning goal himself two nights later, assisting on the insurance marker.
Despite all the pressure the Penguins put on the Detroit Red Wings through the first two games, 64 shots on goal — 32 in each game — Pittsburgh only were able to put two past Chris Osgood, who had a sparkling .969 save percentage. But that changed in the next two games with the Penguins at home, where he allowed seven goals against on 51 shots.
“We won this one because we believe,” Penguins winger Max Talbot said after the Game 4 win.
While Crosby’s club lost Game 5 on the road 5-0, consecutive 2-1 wins in Games 6 and 7 saw the young superstar captain hoist his first Stanley Cup: something Connor McDavid and his Oilers are hoping to do some time over the next two weeks.
Much like Talbot said of the Penguins’ belief, Edmonton’s is unflappable in the face of adversity.
Connor McDavid said after Game 2, one in which despite getting a 1-0 lead over the Panthers on Monday night, “I’m looking forward to people doubting us again.”
The Oilers had their opportunites to get in the game. Amid a penalty-filled one that saw Warren Foegele ejected after kneeing Panthers winger Eetu Luostarinen in the first period, Edmonton’s potent top unit had four power play chances. They fired one shot on goal.
Their inability to create offensive chances was more than apparent. Their forward group had six shots on net: three from McDavid, two from Leon Draisaitl, and one from Zach Hyman. At five-on-five, the Oilers didn’t muster a single high-danger scoring chance, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Even still, Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch felt his team had done enough through the first two games of the series to secure a win.
“I think we feel that we came here, we played well enough we should’ve had a split,” he said. “That doesn’t always happen. We just have to take it one game at a time.
“I don’t see any reason to panic, or do anything drastic. If we win one of these, which I think we were capable of doing, we’re really happy. I don’t want to get caught up in ‘we’re down 2-0 and we’re in a whole lot of trouble.’ We just have to win the next game.”
Lineup changes came Edmonton’s way ahead of Game 2. Cody Ceci was made a healthy scratch amid a dreadful playoff, while Corey Perry drew out of the lineup for Sam Carrick, who mixed it up physically with the Panthers all night long. Couple Foegele’s early ejection and Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse suffering an injury in the first period that limited him to seven shifts and 4:20 of ice time further shifted things for the team.
Now, they’ll look to put that all behind them, and they’ll have to. The Stanley Cup is on the line, and the odds are ever against their favour with sportsbook Betway giving them just a 25 percent chance of winning it all.
While not the Stanley Cup Finals, the Oilers have been in a similar situation as a franchise. Just look back to 2006 against the San Jose Sharks, when Edmonton dropped Games 1 and 2 on the road, only to win four straight to advance.
Thursday night, they’ll need all the help they can get.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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