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