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Edmonton Oilers stand with the Campbell Conference Bowl after beating the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals | Jason Franson | The Canadian Press
Global News

Underdog Oilers Look To Snatch The Cup From The Panthers’ Paws

The Oilers' journey from a 33-year championship drought to the brink of Stanley Cup glory is the talk of the Canadian hockey world

The last time a Canadian hockey team won the Stanley Cup; Jean Chretien was elected Prime Minister in a landslide. Czechoslovakia split into two countries, and Al Pacino won an Oscar for Best Actor for his leading role in Scent of a Woman.   

That was 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens took home the big prize.

Last Sunday, in a nail-biter of a game six that saw the home team outshot nearly 4 to 1, the Edmonton Oilers sent the Dallas Stars packing and booked themselves a spot in the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.

It wasn’t pretty. But thanks mainly to starting goaltender Stewart Skinner stopping 34 of 35 shots, the Oilers got the job done. 

To say there’s excitement in Canadian hockey is a massive understatement.

The excitement in Edmonton after the Oilers clinched the Western Conference finals on Sunday, June 2 |
The excitement in Edmonton after the Oilers clinched the Western Conference finals on Sunday, June 2 | The Rockies.Life Staff

A Legacy of Winning

Edmonton has won in its hockey DNA. After snagging four Stanley Cups during the Wayne Gretzky glory years of the 1980s, the club won another in 1990, not long after the Great One was traded away. 

That cup win was followed by a 33-year drought, which resulted in extremely disappointing results for diehard Oilers fans. 

Between 2006 and 2016, the Oilers failed to qualify for postseason action 10 years in a row.

But the hard times are all but forgotten now. 

Last Sunday, Calgary resident Gil Spanglet drove up with nine-year-old daughter Olivia to watch the Oilers beat the Stars. 

“I was [Olivia’s] age last time they won the Stanley Cup, so history repeats itself, maybe,” Spanglet told CBC.

Can They Do It Again?

This year’s Stanley Cup final is being billed as a battle between the league’s most well-rounded team and the team with arguably the best player in the world.

“With the Panthers, there really is no weakness. Their depth at forward and on defence is incredible,” writes Bryan Murphy in The Sporting News. 

But then there’s the Oilers’ explosive offence – not to be taken lightly, Murphy says.

“The combination of McDavid and Draisaitl is enough to make any defensive unit’s heads spin, but when you pair those two with the complementary pieces at the top of the Oilers’ offence like Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Evander Kane, then Edmonton is constantly a threat to score.”

Connor McDavid is a generational player, the sort of talent people will talk about long after he hangs up his skates for the last time.

“McDavid is going to get his Stanley Cup. He’s too good of a player not to win a championship — it’s a matter of when, not if,” Murphy says.

According to the gamblers, the Panthers are odds-on favourites for winning the Cup.

That means the Oilers are underdogs. And in a fight for the top prize, sometimes being the underdog is right where you want to be.    

Edmonton travels to the Sunshine State to play Florida in game 1 of the series this Saturday at 5 p.m. PST. 

If you don’t have tickets for the games and want to watch the Stanley Cup series with new friends here is a list of downtown Edmonton venues that offer big screens and great game day deals.

Go Oilers! Go!

Edmonton Oilers stand with the Campbell Conference Bowl after beating the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals | Jason Franson | The Canadian Press
Edmonton Oilers stand with the Campbell Conference Bowl after beating the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals | Jason Franson | The Canadian Press

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