Leon Draisaitl Leads Edmonton Oilers to Force Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final

Leon Draisaitl Leads Edmonton Oilers to Force Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final

Leon Draisaitl shines as Edmonton Oilers beat Florida Panthers 5-1 in Game 6, forcing a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final.

Bollywood Fever: Leon Draisaitl made his first major impact in the Stanley Cup Final, and the series is heading back to South Florida. Draisaitl set up Warren Foegele’s early goal, Adam Henrique and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, and the Edmonton Oilers forced a Game 7 by defeating the Florida Panthers 5-1 in Game 6 on Friday night.

This marks the first time a team has tied the final after falling behind 3-0 in the series since the Detroit Red Wings in 1945. The Oilers now have the chance on Monday night in Sunrise to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only NHL teams to come all the way back from that deficit to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Leon Draisaitl Leads Edmonton Oilers to Force Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final

The opportunity to make hockey history and end Canada’s three-decade-long Cup drought exists only after Connor McDavid’s heroics, with four points each in Games 4 and 5 taking the Oilers from the brink to belief. Draisaitl, his longtime running mate from Germany, who has also been league MVP and is considered among the best players in the world, lit the spark in Game 5 after being largely ineffective against the Panthers.

Draisaitl got the puck at center ice, skated around and through Florida defenders, and put the puck on the tape of Foegele’s stick for a tap-in that Sergei Bobrovsky had nearly no chance of stopping. That, of course, did not stop the fired-up sellout crowd of 18,000-plus from mockingly chanting, “Ser-gei! Ser-gei!” starting before the anthems and continually throughout the night.

The goalie everyone calls “Bob” was hardly to blame, though, with mistakes in front of him also contributing to the 2-on-1 rush that ended with Henrique beating Bobrovsky off a perfect pass from Mattias Janmark. The Panthers in front of their goaltender looked tight and timid, unlike the juggernaut that reached the final for the second consecutive year and won the first three games to move to the verge of the first title in franchise history.

Florida had just six shots on net midway through the game and finished with 21. Continuing a trend of being there when the Oilers need him the most, Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner made timely saves to stymie the Panthers, allowing just a goal to Aleksander Barkov less than 90 seconds into the third period.

The first time Barkov got the puck past him, 10 seconds after Henrique scored, the goal came off the board when Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch successfully challenged for offside. A lengthy review found Sam Reinhart entered the offensive zone perhaps an inch or less before the puck, the announcement of which was followed by a roar from fans.

That was not the loudest Rogers Place got, and there were plenty of candidates for that distinction. The decibel meter shown on video screens reached 113.8 when the Oilers stepped onto the ice to the tune of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

It might have approached that noise level when Ryan McLeod and Darnell Nurse scored empty-netters in the final minutes, setting off chants of “We want the Cup!” and a wild celebration at the viewing party outside.

That was the fever pitch of a city that was awash in a sea of blue and orange downtown in the hours before puck drop. Friday might as well have been a holiday in Edmonton, the home of nearly a million people now fully able to let themselves dream of the Oilers adding another white championship banner to the rafters — and doing so in the most improbable way possible.

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Nicholas Edwards

Nicholas Edwards is a passionate writer with a keen interest in sports and business news. With a knack for delivering insightful and engaging content, Nicholas keeps his finger on the pulse of the latest developments in these dynamic fields. His enthusiasm for both sports and business shines through in his writing, making complex topics accessible to a wide audience. Whether it's dissecting the latest game-changing play or analyzing market trends, Nicholas brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of knowledge to his articles. Email @ admin@bollywoodfever.co.in

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