Oilers hold off Canucks in Game 7 to win West semifinal series

League: NHL

Posted on: 21 May, 2024 at 05:41 AM

Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

It was a nail-biting finish, but the Edmonton Oilers showed another side to their game by vanquishing the Vancouver Canucks in a Western Conference semifinal series.

The visiting Oilers, thought of being an offense-first squad, claimed the Stanley Cup playoff series with a 3-2 victory on Monday. Down 3-2 in the series entering the weekend, Edmonton pushed it the distance with a dominant Game 6 victory on Saturday before riding a three-goal second period to the Game 7 win.

Key in the victories was defensive play. The Oilers surrendered only 17 shots on goal in Monday's game, none after the Canucks made it a one-goal clash with 4:36 remaining in regulation.

"We defended well. We played two really good games," Edmonton captain Connor McDavid told Sportsnet after the win. "Our backs were against the wall and we responded. I'm really proud of the group."

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected one goal and one assist while Cody Ceci and Zach Hyman also scored for the Oilers in Game 7. Goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 15 shots.

Evan Bouchard collected two assists and Leon Draisaitl added a helper, giving him at least one point in all 12 of Edmonton's postseason games this season.

Edmonton will face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals, which begin Thursday.

"We know they are a deep team," Nugent-Hopkins said of the Stars. "That's in a few days. We'll process this and move on to them."

Dallas finished atop the conference.

"They're as deep a team as you're going to find in the NHL," McDavid said of Dallas. "They're a great test but we're looking forward to it. ... We're a deep team, too."

With the Canucks down 3-0 entering the third period, Conor Garland and Filip Hronek responded for the hosts to make a game of it.

Goaltender Arturs Silovs stopped 26 shots for Vancouver, which missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons before finishing atop the Pacific Division with a 50-win campaign.

"They put respect back into this city and this jersey," Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said of his players. "Fans have got something to be proud about. That's because of the players."

Vancouver was without top goal scorer Brock Boeser in Game 7 because of blood-clotting issues, and it certainly impacted the club. The Canucks failed to even register a single shot on goal during a late four-minute power play in the first period.

After a scoreless first period that saw the Oilers outshoot the hosts 13-2, Ceci finally opened the scoring 76 seconds into the second period with a top-corner point shot for his second goal of the playoffs.

Hyman doubled the lead at 5:50 of the middle frame by deflecting Bouchard's point shot for his 11th marker of the postseason, and Nugent-Hopkins notched a power-play tally at 15:22, just as the Canucks were finally gaining momentum. The goal was Nugent-Hopkins' fourth of the playoffs.

The Canucks have posted a few thrilling comebacks and came close with another. After Garland put the Canucks on the board with 8:33 remaining in regulation, his third goal of the playoffs, Hronek's first career playoff goal made it a one-goal game with 4:36 on the clock. However, Vancouver could not drum up the equalizer.

"Hard-fought game," Canucks forward J.T. Miller said. "Hard-fought series. We were a bounce away."

--Field Level Media