THE END OF THE ROAD

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - CATHER­INE GRIWKOWSKY cgri­wkowsky@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/CGri­wkowsky

Oil­ers cap­tain Con­nor McDavid re­acts af­ter Ed­mon­ton’s 2-1 loss to the Ana­heim Ducks in Game 7 of their West­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal Wed­nes­day in Ana­heim, end­ing the Oil­ers’ first Stan­ley Cup play­off run since 2006.

Wad­dle Oil­ers fans do af­ter Game 7?

There was no empty nest at Rogers Place on Wed­nes­day as Ed­mon­ton faced the Ana­heim Ducks — more than 18,000 tick­ets for the watch party for the last game of the se­ries flew out the door in two min­utes.

The do-or-die game boosted emo­tions higher yet, with a tied se­ries to de­ter­mine which team will go on to face the Nashville Preda­tors in the NHL play­offs.

Com­pared to other games in the se­ries, the ten­sion — and deci­bels — among fans was high.

The con­vert­ibles with their tops down, honk­ing along 104 Av­enue, gave a clue why. Hockey in mid­May hasn’t hap­pened in more than a decade in Ed­mon­ton.

Chris Joyce be­came an Oil­ers fan af­ter mov­ing to Ed­mon­ton six years ago and was shak­ing with ner­vous­ness ahead of the game.

“I was re­ally un­able to fo­cus all day to­day,” Joyce said. “Sit­ting at work, I could only think about the game.”

He said he be­lieves his boss would be un­der­stand­ing if he doesn’t make it to work Thurs­day — de­pend­ing on the out­come of the game.

“The whole city is just abuzz,” he said. “It’s a unique sort of sol­i­dar­ity.”

Kyle Plibersek and Crys­tal Weilan im­merse them­selves in work to keep their mind off of what’s rid­ing on the game.

Weilan said she fol­lowed the Oil­ers when she was younger and Wayne Gret­zky was play­ing.

“They must bring it home and they will,” Plibersek said.

The win­ner of this se­ries will have home ice ad­van­tage for the West Fi­nal.

Un­like many fans, Josh Jacko and Joel Bruneau weren’t ner­vous in the least. The two have been wait­ing half their lives for this play­off mo­ment.

“It’s a record for most over­times — I’ll be here,” he said.

Jacko said he pre­dicted the play­off run when the new arena was an­nounced.

“I thank God for Daryl Katz,” he said.

Bruneau said he won’t leave un­til the game is done — even if it goes into fifth over­time.

“This sea­son has been his­tory in the mak­ing be­fore our eyes,” Bruneau said.

CHRIS CARL­SON/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

LARRY WONG

Oil­ers fans watch their team play the Ana­heim Ducks in Game 7 of their se­ries on the big screen at Rogers Place Wed­nes­day.

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