McDavid caps historic run with Conn Smythe despite Oilers loss in Game 7

The Oilers survived five elimination games in the playoffs to get to Game 7 in the Cup Final, two against Vancouver and three against Florida, but were not able to get past the last one.

“We knew it was going to be tight, Game 7 for the Cup,” McDavid said. “We knew it was going to be a real tight game and it was going to come down to one thing here or there. We’re an inch away from going ahead 2-1 before they go ahead 2-1. It’s tough. They do a good job of shutting things down and we had our looks. We just didn’t find it.”

McDavid finished the playoffs with 42 points (eight goals, 34 assists) in 25 games. Only Gretzky and Mario Lemieux had more in one postseason.

Gretzky had 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) in 18 games with Edmonton in 1985, and Lemieux had 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 23 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991. Gretzky also had 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 19 games for the Oilers in 1988. All ended with a Stanley Cup championship.

“He’s the greatest player to ever play in my books,” Draisaitl said. “There are so many things that people don’t see that he does. He single-handedly turned our franchise around, pretty much. I just love sharing the ice with him and he’s a really, really special person.”

The Conn Smythe is the latest individual trophy won by McDavid, who also has won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP three times (2017, 2021, 2023), the Ted Lindsay Award as the League’s most outstanding player as voted on by his peers four times (2017, 2018, 2021, 2023), the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer in the regular season five times (2017, 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023), and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as leading goal-scorer once (2023).

The only trophy still eluding him is the one the Panthers were parading around the ice Monday.

“You think about the year that Connor had, 100 assists, leading our team, the performance he had in this playoffs, especially in this final round when we were down 3-0 and he comes out with eight points in two games,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “Throughout the year he’s our best player and he wanted to win it for the team, and we wanted to do it for him, the captain of our team. I can’t say enough things about what he provides, the leadership and what he does on the ice.”

McDavid had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the Final but was kept off the score sheet in the last two games. He had two shots on goal in Game 7 and came within inches of tying the game on a tip that went over the net in the third period. He also come close on a rebound in front but was unable to get a shot off.

“We never stopped believing,” McDavid said. “We really believed we were going to get one. I have that one in front, Zach [Hyman] has a whack at it, ‘Bouch’ [Evan Bouchard] has got all kinds of looks. We had a lots of looks, it just didn’t go.”

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