Fans rejoice as Edmonton Oilers win Game 6 in Stanley Cup final

Edmonton Oilers fans celebrate in the Edmonton Ice District after the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final on Friday.  (Timon Johnson/CBC - image credit)
Edmonton Oilers fans celebrate in the Edmonton Ice District after the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final on Friday. (Timon Johnson/CBC - image credit)

The Edmonton Oilers are dragging the Florida Panthers back to Florida for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

The Oilers secured their third win in a row in the best-of-seven series Friday, beating the Panthers 5-1 on home ice.

The Edmonton Oilers' run is bringing people together — from here and abroad.

Christian Hügel, a devoted Oilers fan originally from Germany who now resides in Switzerland, was walking around outside Amerant Arena in Sunrise, Fla., before Game 5 on Tuesday, when he crossed paths with Mike Reimer and Nancy Lavoie.

The men high-fived. The trio saw each other again later and, after the Oilers' victory, went out for a beer. Eventually, the Edmontonians offered Hügel to stay with them to attend Game 6.

"It was not planned to stay with them. It was just a coincidence," said Hügel, who landed in Edmonton at 3 a.m. Friday.

"Our connection was not based on too much beer — it comes from the heart."

Christian Hügel, left, became an Edmonton Oilers fan in the late 1990s while growing up in Germany. On Tuesday, in Sunrise, Fla., for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, he met Mike Reimer and Nancy Lavoie, right and centre, who later invited him to stay with them for Game 6 in Edmonton.
Christian Hügel, left, became an Edmonton Oilers fan in the late 1990s while growing up in Germany. On Tuesday, in Sunrise, Fla., for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, he met Mike Reimer and Nancy Lavoie, right and centre, who later invited him to stay with them for Game 6 in Edmonton.

Christian Hügel, left, became an Edmonton Oilers fan in the late 1990s while growing up in Germany. On Tuesday, in Sunrise, Fla., for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, he met Mike Reimer and Nancy Lavoie, right and centre, who later invited him to stay with them for Game 6 in Edmonton. (Peter Evans/CBC)

Reimer saw Hügel's passion for their team — a brother in arms in Oilers Nation, despite their different nationalities.

"He has bled Oiler-blue like I have," Reimer said. "It has been 18 years since we've been to the final. This is where we can all separate our politics and come together as fans."

Captain Connor McDavid stated the mission and the Edmonton Oilers completed it: they dragged the Florida Panthers back to Alberta for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.

After dropping the first three games of the best-of-seven series, the Oilers have now three times fended off the Panthers from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time.

Jun 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers celebrates win over Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers celebrates win over Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers celebrate their win over the Florida Panthers in Game 6 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

Edmonton is the fourth team in NHL history to fall 3-0 in the final and force a Game 6, but only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs ever completed the comeback.

Regardless of the outcome, Friday's game was the last at Rogers Place this season. Lord Stanley's mug was in the building — but Oilers Nation celebrated as it won't make an appearance until Monday in South Florida.

"Oilers in seven," Jerry MacLachlan said Thursday, sporting a No. 97 McDavid home jersey.

"Game 6 is going to be on another level."

Lane Gross shows his support for the Oilers as the Florida Panthers take on the Edmonton Oilers in game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals in Edmonton, Friday, June 21, 2024.
Lane Gross shows his support for the Oilers as the Florida Panthers take on the Edmonton Oilers in game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals in Edmonton, Friday, June 21, 2024.

Lane Gross shows his support for the Oilers as the Florida Panthers take on the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in Edmonton. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Oilers fanatic Aaliyah Calliou recalls that this team had several three-game skids during the regular season and responded with lengthy win streaks afterward, including a 16-game heater that lifted Edmonton out of the NHL basement.

"I have high hopes. They've been really successful all season," Calliou said.

"They have a chance."

Meanwhile, in the Oilers' locker room, it's business as usual.

"This has always been part of the plan for our group to be in a position like this, playing in big games at home, in big moments," McDavid told reporters Thursday. "[It's] just another one tomorrow night."

Edmonton Oilers fan LJ Muskwa poses for a photo in the Edmonton Ice District before Game 6 between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers on Friday, June 21, 2024.
Edmonton Oilers fan LJ Muskwa poses for a photo in the Edmonton Ice District before Game 6 between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers on Friday, June 21, 2024.

Edmonton Oilers fan LJ Muskwa poses for a photo in the Ice District before Game 6. (Timon Johnson/CBC)

The team has reveled in tackling adversity throughout the season, and is grateful for any opportunity it has to play together, said head coach Kris Knoblauch.

"We feel very fortunate to be in this Game 6 situation. But I've got a team full of guys who are hungry to make sure they get to play two more games and not just one," Knoblauch said.

Puck drop for Game 7 is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT Monday, in Florida. CBC will broadcast the game.

CBC Edmonton will share the post-game excitement on its TikTok channel, @cbcedmonton.

Fans drive a Zamboni down the street in support of the Oilers in Edmonton, Friday, June 21, 2024.The Edmonton Oilers take on the Florida Panthers in Game 6 action of the NHL Stanley Cup final.
Fans drive a Zamboni down the street in support of the Oilers in Edmonton, Friday, June 21, 2024.The Edmonton Oilers take on the Florida Panthers in Game 6 action of the NHL Stanley Cup final.

Fans drive a Zamboni down the street in support of the Oilers in Edmonton. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

CBC Radio's Edmonton AM co-host Mark Connolly went live on the CBC Alberta YouTube channel, taking viewers behind-the-scenes inside Rogers Place and amid the energy outside the arena in Ice District.

Before the game, Loud Luxury and The Beaches also performed at a free concert in the fan park outside Rogers Place.

Capacity for the fan park was just under 9,000, while the limit for the street party in Ice District is 5,000.

 Edmonton Oilers’ mascot Hunter the Lynx shows off himself off in the Edmonton Ice District before Game 6 between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers on Friday, June 21, 2024.
Edmonton Oilers’ mascot Hunter the Lynx shows off himself off in the Edmonton Ice District before Game 6 between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers on Friday, June 21, 2024.

Edmonton Oilers mascot Hunter the Lynx shows himself off in the Ice District before Game 6. (Timon Johnson/CBC)