EDMONTON -- The fans at Rogers Place were dancing, a writhing mass of orange and blue, hands waving, pompoms shaking, flailing and hugging and screaming and high fiving and letting the belief suffuse them.

They could finally take a breath, the knots in their stomachs loosening, their heart rates slowing.

Zach Hyman had caught up to the puck just across the offensive blue line and taken it down the slot and backhanded it past Sergei Bobrovsky and the dream that had felt so impossible for the Edmonton Oilers felt real, with 1:40 left in the second period, and the Oilers leading the Florida Panthers by three goals.

The chant rose up again, “Sergei, Sergei,” and they knew.

They knew.

“I’m behind him, waiting, waiting, waiting, to see if it gets past him,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “Just elation in the moment. The crowd erupts.”

Nugent-Hopkins couldn’t hide his smile. It slipped out, flashing a moment, before disappearing again.

On Friday night, in their final game this season in their home arena, the Oilers had done the near-impossible, winning their third straight game against the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final, this one 5-1.

They had forced a Game 7 after being down 3-0, after having three straight do-or-die games, after coming back from the dead the same way they had done when they sat at 3-9-1 early in the season and their coach, Jay Woodcroft, was fired and the Stanley Cup preseason favorites had only questions and no answers.

They were, suddenly and at long last, one step from history. One game. One win.

“The job’s not done,” Hyman said. “It’s a great story, but you need to finish it. Everybody will forget if you don’t finish it. That’s the key is, everybody remembers the winners. It’s great to give [the fans] a moment like that. But I think they’re waiting for a bigger moment.”

That moment can come Monday, when the Oilers and Panthers reconvene for a Game 7 that nearly everyone expected before the series began and no one expected after the Oilers opened with three straight losses.

“It’s funny, of course when you are down 3-0 you are going to say you believe, but we truly, truly believe in each other and the ability to just win one game at a time,” Nugent-Hopkins said.

“That’s all it comes down to. You don’t need to worry about winning two, or three, or four, you just win that game and I think we all have that belief that if we play our best on any given night, we can win, so that’s been our focus, and we put ourselves back in a good spot. But we know Game 7 is going to be the hardest one, but we are going to be ready for it.”

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With the win, the Oilers became just the third team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after being down 0-3 in the Final and the 10th to complete the task in any round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The other nine teams went 4-5 in Game 7.

Only one team has done what Edmonton will attempt to do on Monday in Game 7 at Amerant Bank Arena (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC), the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the only team to complete a comeback in the Stanley Cup Final with four straight wins.

Three others have done it in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 1975 New York Islanders, who did it in the Quarterfinals, the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, who did it in the Conference Semifinals, and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings, who did it in the First Round.

The Oilers are ready to add themselves to the list.

“It's been a [heck] of a story so far, but at the end of the day, we play to win and this is going to be the hardest game for us,” Leon Draisaitl said. “… I'm just really proud of the way we gave ourselves a chance. That's what it's all about. But by no means is this going to be easy, a walk in the park. This is going to be the hardest game of the series. We know that, we're aware of that. But that being said, really, really proud to give ourselves a chance."

And that’s what they have now. They have a chance.

The memory of the end of Game 3 feels distant now, when the Panthers had a commanding lead, when they were being lauded and crowned and assumed to be the next winners of the Stanley Cup.

The Oilers had done all they could this season, risen from the ashes and, in the very last moments, their time had run out. Their Cinderella story had ended and, for them, there was no happily ever after.

And still, they believed. The Oilers faithful believed. They had come to Rogers Place hoping and praying, their faces painted orange or blue or orange-and-blue, their heads adorned with construction helmets or wigs or hats, their throats already anticipating the scratchiness they’d feel the next morning.

That scratchiness will be there on Saturday, from the “Let’s Go Oilers” chants that started with five minutes remaining in the third period, from the “We Want the Cup” chants that followed, from the screams and the delight and the understanding that this was happening.

It was real. There would be a Game 7, and a chance at claiming history.

“We have belief. I think that's the word I want to use,” Hyman said. “Every game you win it gets stronger, and the outside belief from other people, they start believing too. A lot of people weren't so interested in the Final when it was 0-3, but now I'm sure a lot of people will be tuning in.

“That's why sports is amazing, because the unthinkable can happen. We're in a spot where we thought it could happen, when nobody else believed that it could. Now we’ve got an opportunity. That's all you can ask for.”