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Connor McDavid, Oilers advance after holding off Canucks in 'chaotic' Game 7

Zach Hyman (C), Connor McDavid (R), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Edmonton Oilers are headed to the 2024 Western Conference finals after beating the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game semifinal series. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Zach Hyman (C), Connor McDavid (R), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Edmonton Oilers are headed to the 2024 Western Conference finals after beating the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game semifinal series. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

May 21 (UPI) -- Three-time Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid failed to record a point and the Edmonton Oilers nearly gave up a major lead, but managed to hold on to beat the Vancouver Canucks to advance to the Western Conference finals.

"I thought we played 52 great minutes, really, really good," McDavid told reporters Monday in Vancouver, Canada. "A little mistake, that's gonna happen, and it obviously got a little chaotic from there. You could expect that.

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"I knew it was going to be a tight game. I don't think anyone came in here thinking it would be some type of cake walk. It was tight. I thought we did a good job of responding."

The Oilers edged their foes 29-17 in shots on goal and logged a 21-8 advantage in blocked shots. The Canucks held a 40-21 edge in hits. With the victory, the Oilers advanced to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three years.

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Forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins logged an assist and what proved to be a decisive third Oilers goal in the victory. Defenseman Cody Ceci and forward Zach Hyman also scored for the Oilers. Defenseman Evan Bouchard registered two assists.

The Oilers then surrendered two goals within a five-minute span in the second half of the third period, but denied the Canucks of a game-tying score.

"I'm still reeling from the end there," Nugent-Hopkins said. "It takes every single guy in here. I'm definitely proud to get the job done with this group."

Ceci lit the lamp first, beating Canucks goalie Arturs Silovs 76 seconds into the second period. Hyman followed, scoring off assists from Nugent-Hopkins and Bouchard less than five minutes later.

Nugent-Hopkins found the net for a third time about 10 minutes later. Bouchard took the initial shot during that sequence, but the puck sailed wide, bounced off the back wall and found Nugent-Hopkins on the left post. The Oilers forward then used a quick wrist shot to beat Silovs on the power play.

Canucks forward Conor Garland cut into the deficit with a wrist shot score 11:27 into the third period. That score came off a giveaway right in front of the Oilers net.

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Defenseman Quinn Hughes and forward Elias Lindholm then assisted Filip Hronek for a second score 3:57 later for the game's final goal. Hronek ripped in that score with a one-timer from behind the circles.

The Canucks continued to threaten in the final seconds, but were denied by goal Stuart Skinner and the Oilers defense. Skinner logged 15 saves in the victory.

Silovs made 26 stops for the Canucks.

The Oilers will now face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals to determine who advances to the Stanley Cup Final. Game 1 of the Western Conference finals will be at 8:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in Dallas. That matchup will air on TNT.

The New York Rangers will host the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at 8 p.m. Wednesday in New York. That game will air on ESPN.

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