EDM Game 6 postgame

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers rose to the occasion in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday to extend their season.

The 5-1 win tied the best-of-7 series 3-3, setting up Game 7 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Monday (9 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN).

“It was a really good game on our part, but all it did is buy us one more game and an opportunity to play on Monday,” Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “You just have to approach it as a brand new game and take it one game at a time. We showed up today, worried about one, and that kind of has to be the same approach in Game 7.”

Edmonton needed a strong effort to avoid being eliminated at the same stage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Oilers were not happy with their game in a 3-2 loss in Game 5 in Vancouver on Thursday and knew they needed to be much better to stave off elimination.

It started in goal, with Stuart Skinner making a triumphant return after being pulled after the second period in Game 3, and an outstanding individual effort from forward Dylan Holloway to get Edmonton on the scoreboard.

It seemed Edmonton was building toward a dominant win in the series, jumping out to a three-goal lead in Game 1 and outshooting Vancouver 45-18 in Game 3, both losses, but Oilers captain Connor McDavid said he expected another tight battle in Game 6. Up to that point, every game in the series had been decided by one goal.

“The series has been so tight, so hotly contested, I was thinking it was going to be the same, and I thought we played well,” McDavid said. “I’m sure Vancouver doesn’t feel great about their game and they’ll be better for Game 7, just like we didn’t like our Game 5 and we were better in Game 6. I expect both teams to elevate heading into a big Game 7, obviously.”

McDavid had three assists in the win after being limited to one in the previous three games. Draisaitl had two assists to give him 100 playoff points in 60 games (39 goals, 61 assists), becoming the third-fastest player in NHL history to reach the milestone behind Wayne Gretzky (46 games) and Mario Lemieux (50 games).

Defenseman Evan Bouchard and forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists.

As well as the Oilers played, however, the focus after Game 6 was on the deciding game of the series with the winner moving on to face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final.

“There’s nothing to be satisfied or excited about, we just bought ourselves another day and I would expect the same level of urgency and desperation from our group,” McDavid said. “I would expect Vancouver to play a better game as well and I would expect it to be a highly competitive, great Game 7.”

Previewing Game 7 between the Oilers and Canucks

Edmonton last played a Game 7 in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, coming back from a 3-2 series deficit against the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round. The Oilers won Game 6 in Los Angeles and Game 7 at home.

The last time Edmonton played a Game 7 on the road was in 2017, losing to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.

A year ago, the Oilers were eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights at home in Game 6 of the second round.

“I don’t think we talked too much about last year’s (series), but I think experience helps, a familiar situation helps in understanding how small the margins are and how well you have to play to win,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. “I think those things go into it and we want to keep playing, we want to win a Stanley Cup and we want to be here, so we really didn’t have a choice. We have to step up and next game is going to be even harder, so we’re excited for the opportunity.”

NHL Tonight on the Oilers forcing Game 7

Edmonton checked off a number of boxes in the win against Vancouver to set up Game 7. The Oilers scored five even-strength goals and got to Canucks goalie Arturs Silovs, who played extremely well through the first five games.

Edmonton scored five goals on 27 shots, and at the other end held Vancouver to 15 shots.

“I think we just played fast,” Hyman said. “When we’re playing fast, we’re getting more opportunities, more looks at their net and I thought we got some good looks off the cycle, too, and then we capitalized. I think that’s the key, we’ve gotten looks all series, but we beared down on our chances and made good on them.”

Edmonton is 7-4 all time in Game 7. The Oilers lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 prior to losing to Anaheim in 2017.

“Every game is its own, the only momentum happens maybe from shift to shift,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “For us having an opportunity to win Game 7 in Vancouver, we’re going to have to play well. They’re going to be much, much better than they were tonight. We can feel good about it, but they’re going to be a much different team in Game 7 than they were in Game 6.”