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Oilers force Game 7 against Panthers

The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Friday to force a winner-take-all Game 7 for the Stanley Cup.

Friday’s third-straight loss by the Panthers sets up what could be an epic Stanley Cup collapse. Only one team in NHL history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the championship.

Game 6 was a far cry from Florida’s first three wins in those early days of the series, when the Panthers scored 11 goals combined.

On Friday, Edmonton kept the Panthers scoreless until early in the third period, when Florida’s Aleksander Barkov made a goal to bring the score to 1-3. It would be the Panthers’ only one.

Warren Foegele, Adam Henrique and Zach Hyman had the first three goals for the Oilers. Ryan McLeod and Darnell Nurse scored the final two goals late in the game against an empty net to seal the 5-1 win.

Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner fended off a late effort by Florida to try to make some headway as the minutes drained away, but the two empty-net goals left little doubt as to the outcome. Skinner had 19 saves on the night.

Only one team — the Toronto Maple Leafs — have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series, and it happened 82 years ago against the Detroit Red Wings. Three other teams accomplished the feat in earlier playoff rounds. 

Aside from the chance to make history, a win by Edmonton Monday would break a 31-year drought for Canada.

The hockey-obsessed nation has not had a Stanley Cup winner since the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens.

“Hockey has always been Canada’s sport,” Edmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi told NBC News earlier this month. “Hockey in Canada is king and queen.”

Oilers superstar Connor McDavid had no goals or assists in Game 6, but he has 11 points so far in this Stanley Cup Final — only two behind Wayne Gretzky’s record of 13 points which he accomplished in 1988 while with the Oilers.

Game 7 is at 8 p.m. Monday at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

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