More than McDavid: Oilers historic playoffs run an all-round effort

Connor McDavid has broken Wayne Gretzky's long-standing record of 31 assists in a single post-season run and is just five points away from the Great One's record of 47 set in the 1985 playoffs. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images - image credit)
Connor McDavid has broken Wayne Gretzky's long-standing record of 31 assists in a single post-season run and is just five points away from the Great One's record of 47 set in the 1985 playoffs. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images - image credit)

The Oilers clawback from the edge of defeat to force a Stanley Cup final Game 7 is undoubtedly hockey history in the making.

For many within and outside the once — and possibly future — City of Champions, that success is attributed to superstar Connor McDavid. But other players in the orange and blue have similarly stepped up their game.

Although, to be certain, the Oilers captain has repeatedly proven why he's a fan favourite during these playoffs. He's broken Wayne Gretzky's long-standing record of 31 assists in a single post-season run and is just five points away from the Great One's record of 47 set in the 1985 playoffs.

Derek van Diest, an analyst with NHL.com and a former sports reporter with the Edmonton Journal, said McDavid continues to elevate his game.

"He's doing things that haven't been done since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux did them in their playoff run," he said.

Van Diest believes McDavid is a clinch for the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded annually to the Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.

He says other players have done their part too — defenceman Evan Bouchard is having another fantastic year while Leon Draisatl's performance in the first three rounds helped get the team to this point.

Zach Hyman's 16 post-season goals are a record for the NHL's post-salary cap era while Evan Bouchard has set the record for most assists by a defenceman.

Joaquin Gage was a goaltender with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1990s and early 2000s.

"The Oilers have been blessed with Hall of Fame goaltenders," he said in an interview Sunday. "And that position is always scrutinized, I think more than more than most."

Gage says goalie Stuart Skinner's trajectory has been impressive, especially in light of it only being his second year with an NHL contract.

"Here's a guy that's wrestled the number one job and now just what he's been able to do — a little stumble in the playoffs, but that's expected," he said.

Gage says the longer the playoffs went on, the better Skinner's play became. During the post-season, there were many points where players have stepped up, he said.

One player he thinks of is Connor Brown.

"He sticks out to I think to most Oilers fans just from what he had to go through, you know, an ACL surgery is very difficult to come back from," Gage said

"Even one of the greatest moments of the season I think was his first goal," he said, adding that fans are seeing history in the making with this iteration of the team.

Van Diest said if the Oilers lose on Monday, it will be a disappointment but not a failure.

"It was a fantastic season," he said.

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. MT on Monday.

If the Oilers can clinch the win, they will be the first NHL team to reroute a 3-0 Stanley Cup final deficit since the Toronto Maple Leafs did it in 1942.