Oilers beat Stars in Game 6 to advance to Stanley Cup Final

EDMONTON, Alberta — Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist in the first period to get Edmonton going, Stuart Skinner stopped 34 shots for his hometown team and the Oilers capped an improbable run to the final of the Stanley Cup by beating the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Sunday night.

Zach Hyman also scored – like McDavid, on a first-period power play – and Evan Bouchard had two assists for the Oilers, who won the Western Conference in six games and will play for the Cup for the first time since 2006.

Edmonton now travels to Florida to face the Panthers in the first game; the series is scheduled to open Saturday evening. The Panthers are in the title series for the third time, after being swept by Colorado in 1996 and losing to Vegas in five games last year.

The Panthers started as -125 favorites to win the Cup on ESPN BET, with the Oilers underdogs at +105.

Mason Marchment scored midway through the third period and Jake Oettinger stopped eight shots for the Stars, who finished the regular season with the second-best record in the NHL – 113 points, just one behind the New York Rangers in the race for Presidents. ‘Trophy.

But the Stars, like the Rangers, let a 2-1 lead slip away in the conference final. Dallas scored five goals in Game 3 to take the series lead; the Stars scored four goals total in the next three games.

Oettinger went to the bench with about 2:20 left, but the Stars got just two shots the rest of the game as their desperate attempts to tie the game and extend the series failed.

Just by reaching the Cup final, Edmonton did something truly extraordinary: qualify for the title series after finding themselves 10 points out of a playoff spot during the regular season. Entering play on November 24, the Oilers were 5-12-1, 10 points behind Seattle and St. Louis for the final wild card spot in the West and 19 points behind Vegas for first. conference venue.

Those days are now long forgotten.

That’s when the Oilers – a few weeks after Kris Knoblauch took over as coach from Jay Woodcroft, who was fired after a 3-9-1 start – began a streak of eight consecutive victories and began their long climb to the NHL spot. basement.

From that eight-game winning streak, the Oilers – who went on a 16-game winning streak shortly after the eight-game series ended – were the best team in the NHL for the remainder of the regular season. They were 44-15-5 for the rest of the game, leading the league in goals (239) and goal differential (plus-76) during that span.

And now the finale awaits us.

Edmonton is only the third team in NHL history to reach the final after being 10 or more points out of a playoff spot. the others were Toronto in 1958-59 and St. Louis in 2018-19. The Blues won the Cup that season.

The Oilers only managed three shots in the first period of Game 6. It was enough.

McDavid opened the scoring with a spectacular goal, weaving through traffic before beating Oettinger to take a 1-0 lead. He then found Hyman in the slot for another power play score late in the first; the shots at that point were 6-3 for Dallas, but the score was 2-0 for Edmonton and the Oilers were on their way.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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