Oilers take aim at creating Stanley Cup history in Edmonton

If the Edmonton Oilers are to win the Stanley Cup, they're going to have to do something never achieved before by the franchise and rarely done in NHL history.
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Two
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages

After losing the first two games of this season's Stanley Cup Final, do the Edmonton Oilers still believe they can win it all? It's a valid question, with plenty of people doubting them.

In fairness, the Oilers have had plenty of doubters throughout this season. This dates all the way back to when they began the regular season with a 2-9-1 record, which was the worst start through 12 games in team history.

Now though the stakes are higher, versus a Florida Panthers team which is playing to their strengths and showing why they were labelled favourites prior to the Stanley Cup Final. Again though, do the Oilers still believe they can rebound and win the Holy Grail of hockey?

An extremely rare achievement

For some context, since the NHL adopted a best-of-seven format for the Stanley Cup Final all the way back in 1938-39, falling behind two games to zero is not particularly promising. Consider that only five times, has a team been able to recover from losing the first two games to win the cup.

Three of those times came in similar circumstances to the Oilers, i.e. losing the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final on the road. For the Oilers specifically, none of their five Stanley Cup wins to date involved such a scenario.

So if Connor McDavid and company are to come back from 2-0 down to win the cup, they will be able to put their own mark on a franchise which has been as successful as anyone, since they joined the NHL in 1979-80. In this respect, as we recently wrote, they are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for Stanley Cup wins in this time, while their eight overall appearances in the final are the most since they entered the league.

McDavid and company taking the right approach

As much as the Oilers do face a mammoth task to claw this series back, they are prepared to embrace the challenge. Speaking to the media following the 4-1 loss in game two on Monday night, McDavid said: "It’s exciting. It’s another opportunity for our group to come together and dig our way out. It’s supposed to be hard; it’s supposed to be difficult, and I’m excited to see what our group's made of. I’m excited to see our group come together, I’m excited to see us fight through adversity and I’m looking forward to people doubting us again with our backs against the wall."

Zach Hyman has yet to record a point versus the Panthers, but will be hoping to add to his NHL playoff-high 14 goals. Also speaking to the media, he believes getting back to Rogers Place will help, as he said: "I mean it's not ideal obviously (being down 2-0), but we have two games at home. You've got to take care of business at home. They just did that at home, now it's our job to go back to Edmonton and win two. It starts with one though."

While the results are all that matters, Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch is encouraged that his team could -- and maybe should -- have left Florida with a win. Speaking to the media, he said: "I think we feel we came here and we played well enough that we should have had the split. That doesn’t always happen. We just have to take it one game at a time, but I don’t see any reason to panic or do anything drastic. If we win one of these (at home), which I think we’re capable of doing, we’re really happy. So I don’t want to get too caught up in that we’re down 2-0 and we’re in a whole lot of trouble. We just have to win the next game."

Just thinking one game at a time is definitely one of the better ways to approach a situation such as this. Certainly, it sounds more positive and achievable that putting it as the Oilers needing to win four of the next five games to clinch the Stanley Cup.

Next. With or without Leon Draisaitl the Oilers are in big trouble. With or without Leon Draisaitl the Oilers are in big trouble. dark

At the same time, no matter how you word it, it's ultimately about the Oilers attempting to come back and win the Stanley Cup. And if they can do, they will earn a special place in the record books, both in respect of the team specifically, and the NHL as a whole.

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