SI:AM | Game 7 Loss to Oilers Ends Canucks’ Magical Run

Another tough break for Vancouver fans.
Vancouver fell to Edmonton in Game 7 of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Vancouver fell to Edmonton in Game 7 of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs. / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. I feel terrible for Canucks fans for enduring another Game 7 loss.

In today’s SI:AM:

🤠 The Panthers’ very country rookie
🔱 J-Rod’s early-season struggles
🏒 Oilers win Game 7

Another Game 7 heartbreak in Vancouver

The Vancouver Canucks are among the most tortured franchises in the NHL. They joined the league in 1970 and have never won a Stanley Cup, tying the Buffalo Sabres (another ’70 debutante) for the oldest franchise never to win a championship. What makes the championship drought even worse, is that they’ve had a couple of famous close calls, losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in ’94 and 2011. So Vancouver fans have a lot of terrible memories associated with the phrase “Game 7”—and Monday night added another one to the list.

The Edmonton Oilers beat the Canucks in Game 7 of their second-round series, 3–2, thanks to a stellar defensive effort that limited Vancouver to just 17 shots. Edmonton jumped out to a 3–0 lead before the Canucks scored twice in the third period to give themselves a glimmer of hope. But the Canucks couldn’t generate enough scoring chances as they fought to avoid elimination, managing just five shots in the final period.

“We were never going to go quietly,” Vancouver’s Conor Garland told reporters. “We were one game away from the conference final. I'll be thinking about this for a while. It just sucks. As a group, we fought to the end. I never, never doubted that we would.

“I lost games in junior [hockey leagues] that I still stay up at night and think about, so this will hurt for a long time.”

It’s incredible that the Canucks even got to a Game 7 in the first place, though. They came out of nowhere this season to finish with 109 points, their best record in more than a decade, after languishing near the bottom of the standings in each of the past three seasons.

A lot of that success can be credited to the play of goalie Thatcher Demko, who missed much of last season with an injury after a breakout 2021–22 campaign. He finished fifth in the NHL this season in goals-against average and fourth in save percentage. But he played only one game this postseason before injuring his knee, and when backup goalie Casey DeSmith hurt his groin, the Canucks were forced to go with third-string goalie Arturs Silovs, a 23-year-old who had played just nine career NHL games. Silovs exceeded expectations, even recording a shutout in the series-clinching win over the Nashville Predators in the first round.

The Canucks were missing another key piece in Game 7 against Edmonton, too. Winger Brock Boeser, the team’s leading scorer in the postseason, was diagnosed with blood clots. Vancouver fans are surely wondering this morning if the result would have been different if they’d had another scoring threat on the ice.

A loss would have been even more crushing for the Oilers. They’ve underperformed in the postseason the past several years despite employing the game’s best player, Connor McDavid. This is only the second time in McDavid’s nine-year career that Edmonton has advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

Next up for the Oilers is a date in the conference finals with the Dallas Stars, who had the best regular-season record in the Western Conference. Game 1 of that series will be in Dallas on Thursday.

Rodríguez has struggled at the plate for the Seattle Mariners early in the season.
Rodríguez has struggled at the plate for the Seattle Mariners early in the season. / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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The top five…

… things I saw last night: 

5. Rafael Devers’s home run against the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s now homered in six straight games, a Boston Red Sox franchise record. 
4. Jo Adell’s home run robbery
3. This diving save by Arturs Silovs. 
2. Christian Yelich’s steal of home
1. Caitlin Clark’s first ridiculously deep three as a WNBA player. (She also had a clutch game-tying layup with a minute to play but the Indiana Fever still lost to the Connecticut Sun to drop to 0–3.)


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Dan Gartland

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).