Oilers fall short in Game 7, bow out to mighty Ducks
It was fun while it lasted. Fun?
Check that. It was the most amazing spring Edmonton hockey fans have experienced in 11 years while it lasted.
But it’s over.
The Edmonton Oilers’ thrilling and inspirational joyride came to a heart-stopping halt Wednesday night with a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7.
In a series that few expected the Oilers to win, they pushed the Ducks to the brink — but not over it.
In the end, a veteran Anaheim team, determined to change its history after all those Game 7 defeats, refused to let Edmonton become the fifth team in a row to beat them on that stage.
They overcame a 1-0 deficit, taking over the game in the second and third periods and will host the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Final.
But as CBC’s Chris Cuthbert said at the final horn, “We have not seen the last of these Edmonton Oilers.”
A season that began with many people wondering if the Oilers could even make the playoffs saw the Oilers eliminate the San Jose Sharks in the first round and go seven games deep in the second.
It hurts like hell right now, but the Oilers will be better for this.
For once, wait until next year sounds more like a promise than an excuse.
“I think we’ve shown everybody in the league and all the fans that we’re ready to go against these big teams,” Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom said. “A lot of players stepped it up in the playoffs.”
If the Ducks didn’t know it before the series started, they definitely know it now: The Oilers are for real.
“They’re here for a reason, they’re a pretty good hockey team,” Corey Perry said.
Anaheim’s talking point before the puck dropped was almost unanimous: They needed to get off to a quick start. They needed something good to happen early so the demons that have been accumulating like dust in the rafters after four years’ worth of Game 7 failures didn’t start floating down to ice level.
Then, just 3:31 into the first period, the unthinkable. The nightmare scenario. Defenceman Shea Theodore committed the cardinal sin of skating the puck through his own crease under pressure, giving Drake Caggiula the chance to make it 1-0 with one flick of his stick.
That was the start the Oilers needed and they wore it well, riding a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
With the teams that score first in Game 7s posting an all-time record of 125-42, it looked like it could be a fatal wound.
Anaheim’s desperation showed in the second period, which they controlled from start to finish. They were all over the Oilers and finally tied it on Andrew Cogliano’s goalmouth scramble backhander at 8:55. The shots were 8-1 in the period at that point and 16-3 when the period ended.
It could have been worse, but Cam Talbot wouldn’t budge, giving a team that was badly outplayed a chance to come back and win it in the third period.
While momentum hasn’t carried over from game to game in this series, it did from the second period to the third for Anaheim in Game 7.
Nick Ritchie scored 3:21 into the third period to give the Ducks their first lead since overtime of Game 5.
The Oilers had 16:39 to try to find the equalizer.
They couldn’t. Edmonton’s final assault came with their net empty and a faceoff in Anaheim’s end with 1:04 left to play.
Captain Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers were chopped down by Hampus Lindholm and the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 as the Ducks captured a 2-1 victory on home ice Wednesday at the Honda Center to win the best-of-seven series and earn a date with the...