McDavid, Skinner lead Oilers to first Stanley Cup Final since 2006

Defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) and the Edmonton Oilers will battle the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) and the Edmonton Oilers will battle the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

June 3 (UPI) -- Connor McDavid scored a sensational early goal before Stuart Skinner rejected a barrage of desperate shots lead the Edmonton Oilers past the Dallas Stars and into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2006.

The Oilers' 2-1 win in Game 6 on Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, resulted in a 4-2 triumph in the Western Conference finals. They will meet the Florida Panthers on Saturday in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.


"There have been lots of growing pains, for sure," McDavid told reporters. "Lots of lessons along the way. Obviously it feels good. It feels great to be in this position.

"This was always part of the plan. It feels good to be here."

The Stars outshot the Oilers 35-10. Forward Zach Hyman scored the go-ahead goal for the Oilers. Defenseman Evan Bouchard registered two assists. McDavid and Leon Draisaitl also chipped in assists.


Skinner made 34 saves to secure the victory.

"He was unbelievable," McDavid said of the veteran goalie. "We're not sitting up here talking about a win if it wasn't for him. We are on a plane to Dallas if it wasn't for Stu."

McDavid lit the lamp for first blood 4:17 into Game 6 and the Oilers never looked back.

Bouchard received the puck near the blue line on the Stars end to start the sequence during a power play. The defenseman then passed off to forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who sent the puck back.

Bouchard then found McDavid against the right boards. McDavid followed with another feed to Draisaitl, who skated toward the blue line before returning the puck to the three-time Hart Trophy winner.

McDavid then skated forward, with the puck on his right. He cruised wide around defender Sam Steel before pulling his stick from right to left and sneaking between Steel and defenseman Miko Heiskanen. He finished the play with a quick backhanded shot into the roof of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Hyman doubled the lead a little more than 11 minute later. Bouchard passed off to McDavid inside the neutral zone to start that sequence during another power play.


McDavid carried the puck past the blue line before finding Hyman on his right. Hyman finished the play with a powerful snap shot past goalie Jake Oettinger's stick side to give the Oilers a 2-0 edge.

Skinner proceeded to delete the Stars attack, keeping shots out of the net for the entire second period. Defenseman Chris Tanev and forward Tyler Seguin assisted Mason Marchment for the Stars' lone score 9:18 into the third.

Tanev recovered the puck deep in Oilers territory to start that play. He then found Seguin streaking down the center of the ice. Seguin sent a pass back to Marchment, who ripped a shot on net. The attempt drilled the back wall and ricocheted back to Seguin, who tapped the puck back into the crease. Marchment ended the play by tapping the puck into an open net to cut into the deficit.

The Stars outshot the Oilers 14-2 over the final 20 minutes, but could not level the score.

Oilers fans continued to bellow "Stu" chants at the tops of their lungs while Skinner denied countless shots for the remainder of the game, sealing the Oilers' trip to the NHL finale.


The Panthers will host the Oilers in Game 1 at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. Game 2 will be June 10 in Sunrise. Game 3 and Game 4 will be June 13 and 15, respectively, in Edmonton.

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