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Oilers survive Canucks in Game 7 to reach WCF

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

The Edmonton Oilers staved off a third-period comeback attempt by the Vancouver Canucks to win 3-2 in Monday's Game 7 of their second-round series and set up a clash with the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final.

The Oilers appeared to be in cruise control after three consecutive second-period goals, but the Canucks struck twice in four minutes midway through the final frame to set up a frenetic finish.

"We know how to make it stressful," Oilers captain Connor McDavid told Sportsnet postgame.

McDavid, who was held off the scoresheet Monday but had nine points in the previous six games, credited his teammates' perseverance after trailing 3-2 in the series.

"I thought we defended well," McDavid said. "We played two really good games. Backs were against the wall, and we responded. Really proud of the group."

Edmonton shined in its own zone in Game 7 before Vancouver broke through with Conor Garland's goal, limiting the Canucks to 12 shots through 40 minutes. The Oilers blocked 22 shots in the contest and started generating momentum after a four-minute penalty kill in the first period in which Vancouver failed to register an attempt on goal.

Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner had to make only 15 saves but expressed his gratitude toward being between the pipes again after sitting out Games 4 and 5 following poor performances.

"It's everything, being able to have the support of your teammates," Skinner said. "You're with them for potentially years on end, and you're with them every single day throughout the season. They're your best friends, they're your brothers, right? So, being able to hear that from them and have that support from them means the world."

The Canucks have now lost three consecutive Game 7s dating back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Vancouver took a huge leap forward this season, winning the Pacific Division with 109 points after missing the playoffs three straight years.

Rick Tocchet's crew ran into major injury trouble as the playoffs progressed, with first- and second-string netminders Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith getting hurt in the first round. Vancouver ruled leading goal-scorer Brock Boeser out of Game 7 on Sunday night due to a blood clotting issue.

The Oilers are in the conference final for the second time in three years. The Colorado Avalanche swept them in the third round in 2022.

Edmonton and Dallas met three times in the regular season, with the Stars winning twice.

The series begins Thursday night in Texas.

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