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McDavid and the Oilers drag Panthers back to Edmonton for a Stanley Cup Final Game 6

Connor McDavid wanted the Edmonton Oilers to drag the Florida Panthers back to Alberta, then he made sure that happened.

19 June 2024
19 June 2024

Connor McDavid wanted the Edmonton Oilers to drag the Florida Panthers back to Alberta, then he made sure that happened.

McDavid scored twice, including the empty-netter to seal it, and set up two goals to keep the Stanley Cup Final going with a 5-3 victory in Game 5 Tuesday night - avoiding elimination and sending the series all the way back across North America. Game 6 is Friday in Edmonton.

"Drag them back to Alberta" became the Oilers’ rallying cry, started by McDavid after he led the way in avoiding a sweep and echoed by Connor Brown hours before puck drop in Sunrise. The other Connor scored short-handed five minutes in after Stuart Skinner made several big-time saves on the first few shifts as the Panthers opened with a strong push in their second chance to hoist the Cup.

That will have to wait thanks to the Edmonton power play that was 0 for the series at 5 on 4 building the lead with goals by Zach Hyman and Corey Perry, each one assisted on by McDavid. Hyman’s goal was his NHL postseason-leading 15th.

Retired referee Kerry Fraser, who worked final 12 times during his lengthy career, posted on social media, "Connor McDavid reminds me of how Mark Messier could take over a playoff game and ultimately a series." Fraser referenced Messier carrying the Oilers to the Cup in 1990 - the franchise’s last championship, which capped that dynasty’s run of five in seven years.

McDavid, who now has 42 points in this postseason, did not do the dragging by himself.

Brown’s goal made Edmonton the first time since the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins (Mario Lemieux and Bob Errey) to score short-handed in back-to-back games in the final. And Skinner, whose play coming into the series looked like the biggest uncertainty, stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced.

Meanwhile, the Oilers again got to Sergei Bobrovsky, three nights after chasing the him from Game 4 midway through an 8-1 rout. McDavid’s goal in particular Tuesday night from a tight angle, a soft one to give up by the goaltender everyone just calls "Bob.”

More shaky Bobrovsky when the series shifts back to Edmonton could set the stage for a comeback not seen in more than 80 years. The Oilers became just the third team in Cup final history and first since New Jersey in 2012 to fall behind 3-0 and win the next two games, and the only team to come all the way back to win it all was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.


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