EDMONTON -- Todd Marchant scored one of the most iconic goals for the Edmonton Oilers in their Stanely Cup Playoff history. One that is still revered around these parts today.

It was Game 7 of the 1997 Western Conference Quarterfinals, and Marchant, then a 23-year-old forward in just his third full NHL season, scored the series-clinching goal at 12:26 of overtime to eliminate the Dallas Stars.

Marchant took a pass from Doug Weight, blew past Stars defenseman Grant Ledyard, who stumbled as he tried to turn back, and beat goalie Andy Moog blocker side from in close to give the Oilers a 4-3 win.

“My kids have seen the goal since, and they point out that I turned my back on the puck, and when Dougie got the puck, I just turned and started skating,” said Marchant, who is now the director of player development and a senior adviser for the San Jose Sharks. “To be honest, all I remember is getting the puck in the neutral zone from Dougie and I just started skating as fast as I could. Grant Ledyard is a guy I know from playing in Buffalo and living in Buffalo, and he kind of blew a wheel, and there’s no big secret that in my career I got a lot of breakaways that I didn’t convert on. ‘Slats’ (Oilers general manager Glen Sather) was always all over me about it and was asking if I was going to score on these breakaways.”

On April 29, 1997, Marchant did score on his breakaway.

“I didn’t think, that’s probably what happened. I just kept skating and saw an opening on the blocker side and was able to put it there,” he said. “One thing I don’t think people actually see after I scored is that Dan McGillis tackled me and gave me a kiss. It was just the moment.”

The Oilers entered that series against the Stars as heavy underdogs. Edmonton was the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference after finishing the regular season with just 81 points (36-37-9), 23 behind Dallas (48-26-8), which was the No. 2 seed.

“We were a bunch of underdogs, a bunch of no-name kids, and we were going against a Goliath of a team in the Dallas Stars,” Marchant said. “If you look at the rosters on paper, there is no way we should have even been in that series. It should have been a 4-0 series. I had the opportunity of playing with (defenseman) Darryl Sydor in Columbus who was on that Dallas team, and he said they were looking at it to be a quick series and they were looking forward to going up against Colorado, because the big rivalry with them was with Colorado.”

Despite the perceived mismatch, the Oilers came up big in the most important moments.

In Game 3, they rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the third period before winning 4-3 in overtime to take a 2-1 series lead. After Dallas responded with a win in Game 4, Edmonton went on the road and came away with a 1-0 victory in Game 5 on a goal from Ryan Smyth 22 seconds into the second overtime.

Although the Oilers would lose at home in Game 6, Marchant's heroics in the deciding game would send the underdogs to the conference semifinals, where they would play the Avalanche instead of the Stars.

“I think when we got to Game 7, we looked at it (like) we’re in a one game winner takes all, and if anybody had said to us at the beginning of the series that we were going to be in this situation, would we take it,” Marchant said. “I’ve watched that game over the last few years, and there are some key moments in the game, and one that doesn’t get coverage is the [Andrei] Kovalenko goal at the end of the second period. It was a 2-on-1 and I fired the puck over to ‘Kovy,’ and he had a one-timer and put it in the net.

“I think there was less than a minute to play in the period (20 seconds) and it tied the game (3-3) for us. There were little moments in the game that people forget about.”

Tune in to see the Oilers battle the Canucks for Western Conference Final berth

Another moment that people do remember came just prior to Marchant’s series-clinching goal, when Oilers goalie Curtis Joseph made a diving blocker save on Stars forward Joe Nieuwendyk.

“I remember I tried to bat the puck away and I missed it,” Joseph said. “Joey was being tackled when he shot it, and I just dove across and got it with the underside of my blocker. Fortunately, it didn’t go anywhere, it just went straight down, and I played a little bit of a shell game with my hands. It was under there. I got very lucky. It could have gone in. Moments later, we went down and scored.”

Joseph finished with 38 saves in the game, but the one on Nieuwendyk was no doubt his biggest and the one brought up the most by Oilers fans whenever he returns to Edmonton.

“That was an unbelievable save on Joe Nieuwendyk, and just the way things unfolded, the very next shift the goal happened,” Marchant said. “There are lots of things that happened along the way. Had they not happened, we would not be talking about that goal.”

Instead, 27 years later, that goal is still being talked about.

“I don’t think people really knew who to celebrate with,” Marchant said. “You watch the celebration and you have some guys that went over to the pile with me, who was at the bottom, and then other guys that went over to ‘Cujo’ (Joseph). It was a magical moment in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and you see it every year. Every year there is a magical moment, and for us that was the moment.”

NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report

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