The Day After +23.0: Oilers drag Panthers back to Alberta

Edmonton Oilers Connor Brown
Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers had been waiting for somebody to have a Fernando Pisani moment.
In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Tuesday night, it was none other than Connor Brown, scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal 5:30 into the game to set the pace for what would be a frantic 5-3 victory. But it was the performance of another Connor who took the game over from that point, doing everything and then some to drag the Florida Panthers back to Alberta.
Connor McDavid is a man on a mission, determined as ever to do whatever it takes to reach hockey’s pinnacle, putting together another incredible performance in which he scored two goals and four points.
“He puts this team on his back,” said Oilers winger Corey Perry. “When we’re against a wall, he puts us on his back and he plays. You see why he’s the best player.”
For as incredible as McDavid’s night — and quite frankly his his last two games — it was a play partway through the second period that will be seen on highlight reels forever.
In the dying seconds of a power play halfway through the second period, McDavid had the puck in the Oilers zone, meandering towards the Panthers blue line, dancing through three defenders, and finding Perry on the back door for his first goal of the playoffs. It was a big-time play by a big-time player, who became the first player in Stanley Cup Finals history to score eight points over a two-game stretch.
His dominance wasn’t just on that single play, though. He helped set up an Oilers power play goal 1:58 into the second period, when Zach Hyman tipped home an Evan Bouchard point shot, and scored his first of two an even 5:00 into that frame, shooting a puck past a still-standing-on-his-skates Sergei Bobrovsky.
And his dominance wasn’t just on the scoresheet, either. McDavid was making plays defensively all night long to keep pucks alive and alive. He himself, however, said a full team effort led to the win.
“It was a total effort from everybody,” he said. “Special teams were obviously great, penalty kill, there’s nothing else to really say. It’s been great.
“Brownie scores a massive goal there to settle us in. Power play got going and Stu was great. Five-on-five, we just did enough. It was a total team effort, from top to bottom.”
Make no mistake, the Oilers wouldn’t be where they are without his performances. McDavid became the only player in NHL history to record back-to-back four-point games in the Stanley Cup Finals, and coupling that with a two-point performance in Game 3, he became the third to record 10 points in a three-game finals span.
All the while, mind you, the Oilers as a whole set a modern-day record for most goals in the Stanley Cup Finals while facing elimination, with 13. The modern era began in 1943-44 when the league introduced the red line at centre ice to speed up the game and reduce offside calls.
The only other team in NHL history to score more? The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who came back from a 3-0 series deficit, outscored the Detroit Red Wings 19-7 en route to the league’s only reverse sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Oilers are knocking on the door of history, close to kicking it in. McDavid already set the record for most assists in a single post-season, building on it Tuesday, while Bouchard set an NHL record for most assists by a defenceman in Stanley Cup history with a three-assist performance.
If they hope to do so, they’ll need to find ways to further elevate their game, goaltender Stuart Skinner said.
“You can never count the Oil out,” he said. “Being able to get these two wins are obviously crucial. We got another one to get back in Edmonton, so that’s our main focus right now.
“Even through we were able to win tonight and play a pretty good game, I think we got to still find a way to elevate our game. You saw tonight how the Panthers came back. They play extremely hard, and that’s the kind of team that they have, same with us. That’s why it’s such a good battle out there.”
Game 6. Friday night.

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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