Oilers beat Brock Boeser-less Canucks in Game 7 to reach Western Conference final

The Edmonton Oilers are returning to the Western Conference final for the second time in three years, taking advantage of a Vancouver Canucks team that had received bad news and holding on for a 3-2 victory on Monday night.

The Canucks learned that leading goal scorer Brock Boeser would miss Game 7 because of a reported blood clot. His absence was notable during a four-minute power play in the first period when Vancouver generated few chances and Edmonton's Connor Brown had a short-handed breakaway.

"That kill in the first was really big," said Oilers star Leon Draisaitl, who had an assist to give him at least a point in all 12 playoff games. "Gave us a lot of momentum going into the second. We just kind of picked it up where he left off in the first."

The Oilers, who were stymied early by several brilliant saves by Canucks goalie Arturs Silovs, took control in the second period with goals by Cody Ceci, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The Canucks began pressing late when Conor Garland scored after an Edmonton turnover in the third period. Filip Hronek pulled Vancouver within a goal with 4:36 left, but Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch called a timeout to settle things down and the Canucks weren't able to tie it up.

"We can defend a little better in the end," Draisaitl told reporters. "But they're going to push at some point. They're a really good hockey team over there."

The Oilers outshot Vancouver 13-2 in the first period and 29-17 overall.

Boeser led the Vancouver with 40 goals in the regular season and seven in the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) celebrates a goal by Zach Hyman during the second period of Game 7.
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) celebrates a goal by Zach Hyman during the second period of Game 7.

"I don't feel sorry for us," teammate J.T. Miller told reporters. "I feel sorry for him. ... He had a career year. How far he's come as a player since I got here, being out there blocking shots with the goalie pulled, that type of player now. For him not to be out there today must suck for him and I feel for him."

What's next for the Edmonton Oilers?

They will face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final, starting Thursday in Dallas. The Stars led the season series 2-0-1. The Oilers were swept by the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 conference final.

What's next for the Vancouver Canucks?

Rick Tocchet is likely to win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year on Wednesday night after leading the Canucks to the Pacific Division title in his first full season with the team. Defenseman Quinn Hughes could win the Norris Trophy.

Trade deadline acquisitions Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov are among their pending unrestricted free agents. Lindholm started slowly with the Canucks with 12 points in 26 games but was a little better in the playoffs with 10 points in 13 games. Zadorov had four goals in the playoffs.

Other pending UFAs include defensemen Tyler Myers and Ian Cole, plus forwards Teddy Blueger, Dakota Joshua and Sam Lafferty.

Silovs, who took over for injured goalie Thatcher Demko in the playoffs, is a restricted free agent. Demko has two years left on his deal and Casey DeSmith is a UFA. Hronek is also an RFA.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oilers vs. Canucks: Edmonton tops Vancouver to advance in NHL playoffs