SI:AM | Oilers Advance to Stanley Cup Final After Recording Just 10 Shots on Goal

It marks Edmonton’s first trip to the Final since 2006.
McDavid heads to his first Stanley Cup Final.
McDavid heads to his first Stanley Cup Final. / Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. I think my favorite sports story this weekend was the fan who stepped up to caddy for a PGA Tour pro.

In today’s SI:AM:

🏒 Stanley Cup Final set
🇫🇷 French Open midterm grades
🥊 The end for a boxing great?

They made them count

An old hockey cliché says if you get pucks on net, you’ll give yourself a chance to win. Well, the Edmonton Oilers struggled mightily to get pucks on net in Game 6 of their series against the Dallas Stars on Sunday night, but they still came away with the victory and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Oilers managed just 10 shots on goal, while the Stars recorded 35. But Edmonton won 2–1, becoming just the third team in NHL history to win a playoff game while recording 10 or fewer shots on goal.

When scoring chances are in short supply, it helps to have a player who’s capable of turning nothing into something—and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid does just that. McDavid scored the first goal of the game with an incredible display of individual skill, dancing through the Dallas defense with some spectacular stickhandling before burying a backhand shot. (McDavid also assisted on the Oilers’ second goal, scored by Zach Hyman.)

“Hockey’s hard, you know? You need a lot of things to go right,” Stars center Tyler Seguin said after the game. “You need to have the opportunity. We had the opportunity. We went through a gauntlet and beat some really good teams and knew we had something special.

“We lost to a team we thought we could beat, and sometimes that’s [the] playoffs. Sometimes it’s that one bounce, one goal, one save. It’s why we all love it and it’s why this is the hardest damn trophy in the world to win.”

The Stars had been carried during these playoffs by star goalie Jake Oettinger. Over the first 16 games of the postseason (through Game 3 of the Edmonton series), Oettinger had a 2.09 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. But he allowed four goals on 28 shots in Game 4 and three goals on 26 shots in Game 5 before getting beaten twice in 10 tries in the series-clinching game Sunday.

Oettinger’s counterpart, meanwhile, was fantastic in the final three games of the series. Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner allowed just four goals in the last three games (all of which Edmonton won) and had an impressive .948 save percentage.

With the win, the Oilers advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2006. Despite employing the best player in the world in McDavid, Edmonton had repeatedly fallen short in the playoffs, only advancing past the second round once in McDavid’s first eight seasons. And at the beginning of this season, it looked like the Oilers were destined for more disappointment. They won just two of their first 10 games, leading to the firing of coach Jay Woodcroft. But then they got hot—really hot. They went 26–6 in their first 32 games under new coach Kris Knoblauch, a stretch that included a 16-game winning streak, one game shy of the all-time NHL record.

The Oilers are great, but they’ll have their hands full in a Final matchup against the Florida Panthers, who finished the regular season tied for the second most wins in the NHL. Game 1 of that series will be in Florida on Saturday.

May 29, 2024; Paris, France;  Naomi Osaka returns a shot against Iga Swiatek at the French Open.
Osaka was one of the standouts in the first week at the French Open. / Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

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Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).