Stuart Skinner made first-period goals from Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman stand up by making 34 saves, and the Edmonton Oilers advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in 18 years with Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars to win the Western Conference.

McDavid added an assist on Hyman's league-leading 14th goal of this year's post-season, while Evan Bouchard assisted on both Edmonton scores to help the Oilers oust Dallas in six games in the best-of-seven series and capture the Clarence Campbell Trophy for the first time since 2006.

Edmonton will meet the Florida Panthers in the Final, with Game 1 to take place Saturday in Florida. The Panthers won their second straight Eastern Conference title with Saturday's 2-1 win over the New York Rangers to also take that series in six games.

The Oilers have not hoisted the Stanley Cup since winning five titles in a seven-year span from 1984-90. The Panthers have never won the Cup since entering the NHL as an expansion franchise in 1993-94.

Dallas, meanwhile, lost in the West Final for the second consecutive year after falling to the eventual Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in six games last season. The Stars had a decisive 35-10 shot advantage in Game 6, but were kept off the scoreboard until Mason Marchment's goal midway through the third period.

The Stars outshot Edmonton by a 12-3 margin in the first period, but quickly fell behind shortly after defenseman Chris Tanev was called for a tripping penalty 3:35 in.

Edmonton needed just 42 seconds on the resulting power play to move ahead. McDavid skated deep into the Dallas zone, faked out a defender and lifted a backhand over the shoulder of Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger with 4:17 elapsed in the contest.

The Oilers converted another power-play chance awarded to them when Dallas defenseman Ryan Suter was called for slashing with 5:37 left in the first. McDavid found Hyman open in the slot and the standout sniper beat Oettinger stick-side with a wrist shot to extend the lead to 2-0 with 4:18 remaining in the period.

Skinner made nine more saves during a scoreless second period, but was unable to stop Marchment's close-range shot off a behind-the-net feed from Tyler Seguin that gave the Stars renewed life with 10:42 left to play.

Dallas pulled Oettinger with under 2 1/2 minutes left but was only able to get two shots on Skinner with the extra skater.

Oettinger recorded just eight saves and the Stars went 0 for 3 on the power play, while Edmonton converted both of its 5-on-4 attempts.



Captain Mark Stone had a hat trick and the Vegas Golden Knights scored four unanswered goals in the second period in a 9-3 rout of the Florida Panthers on Tuesday to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title.

Alec Martinez triggered the four-goal outburst midway through the second period in Game 5 before Reilly Smith, Stone and Michael Amadio added goals to extend the lead to 6-1.

Stone completed his second career postseason hat trick with an empty-net goal to help Vegas capture the Stanley Cup in its sixth season. Only the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers won the Cup in fewer seasons (five).

Florida played without star forward Matthew Tkachuk, who was sidelined with an injury he suffered in Game 3.

Tkachuk, who led the Panthers with 11 goals and 24 points this postseason, went into the NHL’s concussion protocol after he absorbed a crushing hit from Vegas forward Keegan Kolesar in Game 3 and missed much of the third period in Game 4.

Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault won the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the most valuable player during the playoffs. Marchessault – an original member of the Golden Knights - tied for the postsesason lead with 13 goals and led all players with 25 points. 

The Vegas Golden Knights are one win away from winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise’s brief history.

The Golden Knights jumped out to a 3-0 lead then held on to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday, claiming a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

On Tuesday, the series will shift back to Las Vegas where the Golden Knights will have the opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup on home ice.

Chandler Stephenson scored two goals for Vegas, including one just 1:39 into the first period, and the Panthers played from behind the rest of the way.

William Karlsson scored his first goal of the Cup Final midway through the second period to put the Golden Knights up 3-0.

Florida’s Brandon Montour got the home team back in the game with a goal before second intermission, and Aleksander Barkov’s tally 3:50 into the third period closed the deficit to one.

Vegas goaltender Adin Hill stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced and stopped a Carter Verhaeghe slapshot in the game’s final seconds to seal the Game 4 victory.

“Obviously, that was a battle till the last second,” Vegas forward Nicolas Roy told reporters after the game. “They pushed back there. We knew they would. They’ve been doing it all series. But it’s nice to get that one, for sure.”

The Panthers are now tasked with rallying to win three straight games against a favored opponent, a task they accomplished in the first round against the record-setting Boston Bruins.

“We've earned the right to play our best hockey,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “Where we’ve been at our strongest is at the most critical time. I think you’ll see that.”

Carter Verhaeghe scored 4:27 into overtime and the Florida Panthers rallied for a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday to cut their deficit in the Stanley Cup Final to 2-1.

Vegas appeared headed for a 3-0 series lead with a lead late in regulation, but Matthew Tkachuk scored off a rebound with 2:13 remaining to force the extra period.

After the Panthers killed off a penalty to start overtime, Verhaeghe scored on Florida’s first shot of the extra session by firing a wrister from the high slot through traffic and past Adin Hill.

Brandon Montour also scored and Sergei Bobrovksy stopped 25 shots as the Panthers notched their first-ever win in the Stanley Cup Final after they were swept by Colorado in 1996.

Florida improved to 7-0 in overtime in these playoffs, recording more wins in OT than in regulation.

Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone had power-play goals for Vegas. Marchessault’s goal was his 13th in his last 13 playoff games and his fourth of the series.  

Florida lost Tkachuk early in the first period after he took a big hit from Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar. Tkachuk missed the rest of the period but returned a few minutes into the second.

Game 4 is Saturday in Florida.

Jonathan Marchessault had two goals and an assist and the Vegas Golden Knights put on another dominant performance en route to a 7-2 rout of the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.

Brett Howden also scored two goals as Vegas took a commanding 2-0 series lead and moved within two victories of the franchise's first Stanley Cup title. Four other Golden Knights players finished with two points as the Western Conference regular-season champions recorded at least five goals in a third straight game, a stretch in which they've outscored their opponents by a whopping 18-4 margin.

Vegas also cooled off one of the NHL's hottest goaltenders of this postseason for a second consecutive game, as Florida's Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled 7:10 into the second period after yielding four goals on 13 shots.

Bobrovsky entered this series having won 11 of his last 12 starts while compiling a stellar 1.95 goals-against average and .942 save percentage over that time frame.

The Knights got to Bobrovsky early in Game 2 as Marchessault scored on a power play 7:05 in. The forward picked up an assist later in the period on Alec Martinez's goal that staked Vegas to a 2-0 lead entering the first intermission.

Nicolas Roy extended the margin to 3-0 when he beat Bobrovsky less than three minutes into the second period. Howden then scored his first of the night just over four minutes later to chase the Panthers netminder.

Anton Lundell got Florida on the board just 14 seconds into the third period, but Marchessault answered with his 12th goal of this postseason - a Vegas franchise record - to push the lead to 5-1 with just over two minutes elapsed in the session.

Michael Amadio put Vegas up by five goals midway through the third. Florida's Matthew Tkachuk responded with his team-leading 10th goal of the postseason just over two minutes later before Howden closed out the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:08 remaining.

Adin Hill finished with 29 saves for Vegas, which will try to maintain its momentum when the series shifts to Florida for Thursday's Game 3.

Joe Pavelski rifled home a power-play goal at 3:18 of overtime and the Dallas Stars avoided a sweep with a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday in the Western Conference finals.

Jason Robertson notched his first career multigoal playoff game for Dallas and Jake Oettinger rebounded with 37 saves, two nights after he lasted just over seven minutes in a Game 3 loss.

Vegas' Brayden McNabb was called for a high-sticking penalty 2:28 into overtime, and Pavelski needed just 50 seconds to end it. He took a feed from Miro Heiskanen in the left circle and drilled a one-timer inside the far post and past Adin Hill.

The goal was the ninth in 12 games this postseason for Pavelski, whose 73 career playoff goals are the most among active players.

Dallas played without captain Jamie Benn after he was suspended for two games by the NHL for his cross-check near the neck of Vegas skipper Mark Stone early in Tuesday's Game 3.

Benn will also miss Game 5 on Saturday in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights missed an opportunity to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.

William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for the Knights and Hill had his five-game winning streak snapped despite making 39 saves.

Matthew Tkachuk delivered in the clutch yet again, scoring his second goal of the game on a power-play with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to complete the sweep and send the Florida Panthers into the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Florida will play for hockey's ultimate prize for just the second time in franchise history, after they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.

The eighth-seeded Panthers will face either Vegas or Dallas, with the Golden Knights holding a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference final.

Jesper Fast scored the tying goal with 3:22 to go in the third period and the teams appeared headed for overtime for the third time in this series, but Jordan Staal took a tripping penalty with 57 seconds remaining to set up Tkachuk's latest heroics.

Tkachuk's goal was his eighth of the postseason and fourth of this series – including two in overtime.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves in his fifth straight victory – all one-goal decisions. He stopped 168 of 174 shots in this series for a .966 save percentage.

Carolina played most of the game without defenseman Jaccob Slavin after he absorbed a hard hit from Sam Bennett, who was not penalised on the play.

Slavin wobbled as he got to his feet and needed assistance to leave the ice.

Adin Hill stopped 34 shots and the Vegas Golden Knights scored three first-period goals in a 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev and William Carrier all scored in the first 7 1/2 minutes and Hill took care of the rest as Vegas moved a win away from a sweep and the franchise's second Stanley Cup Final appearance in its six-year existence.

Hill has won five consecutive starts with a 1.98 goals-against average and will try to make it six in a row in Game 4 Thursday in Dallas.

In the history of the NHL playoffs, teams with a 3-0 lead have advanced in 200 of the previous 204 occurrences.

Stars captain Jamie Benn received a five-minute major for a cross-check on Vegas captain Mark Stone less than two minutes into the game, with his team already down 1-0. Barbashev extended the lead to 2-0 with a power play goal just over four minutes later and assisted on Alex Pietrangelo's goal in the second period.

Dallas' Jake Oettinger was pulled after giving up three goals on five shots in the shortest start of his career. He was replaced by Scott Wedgewood, who stopped 10 of 11 shots the rest of the way.

Dallas Stars coach Peter DeBoer feels his young goaltender Jake Oettinger is on a trajectory to join the game's best after Tuesday's 4-0 home shutout win against the Minnesota Wild.

The Stars used goals from Tyler Seguin, Jason Robertson and Mason Marchment to take a 3-0 lead early in the second period of the crucial Game 5 clash, before Ty Dellanrea put in an empty-netter to complete the rout and give Dallas a 3-2 series lead.

Oettinger, 24, collected the first shutout of the playoffs after making 27 saves, following a regular season where his five shutouts tied him for the second-most in the league.

Speaking after the game, DeBoer said the poise of his third-year shot-stopper is remarkable to see.

"He sure doesn’t look like a 24-year-old goalie," he said. "He's doing some special things.

"Being at this stage in the career he's at, when you look at the real good goalies over their history, not many of them at his age are taking the load that he's taking and delivering like he's doing."

Wild coach Dean Evason added: "We've talked about [Oettinger] a lot – he was good again."

DeBoer went on to talk about how he feels the Stars' confidence is only growing the longer this series rolls on.

"I think we're getting better as the series goes on," he said. "We got behind early, we've chased it. We wanted to take the opportunity to get out in front for the first time in the series. 

"The last win is always the toughest, but we've got an elimination game in Minnesota. We've been a real good road team all year. I think our guys are excited."

The Seattle Kraken are not settling for a first playoff win despite stunning the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

In their second season, the Kraken have made the postseason for the first time and began their campaign with a 3-1 Game 1 win on the road against the Avs.

That made Seattle the first team in the expansion era to beat the defending champions in their first playoff game, with the previous three debutants playing such matchups losing both Game 1 and the series.

This was especially impressive as Colorado had won the first game in each of their previous six playoff series, the longest Game 1 winning streak in the NHL.

Now, the Kraken are in a great position to advance as the 10th expansion team to win their first playoff game. Eight of the previous nine won the series.

Alex Wennberg, who had a goal and an assist, knows there is a long way to go, though, even if Seattle enjoyed shutting up their critics.

"Obviously, we played a good game, getting the first franchise win in the playoffs," Wennberg said. "But right now this is Game 1.

"Obviously, we are happy about this performance, but we've got to do it again and do it again.

"[The critics] can do whatever you want. Obviously it comes down to the belief in the group right here.

"Everyone is going to have an opinion about the way we play now, but the focus is always going to be on us. We have a belief in this group."

Previous games between the Kraken and the Avs had hinted at Tuesday's upset, with Seattle winning on both of their trips to Denver this season but losing their sole home game against Colorado.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar added: "Our whole team just wasn't quite good enough. I thought we did some good things. They obviously did more good things."

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper made it clear this is not his side's first rodeo after an overpowering 7-3 road win against the Toronto Maple Leafs to open their first-round series on Tuesday.

The Lightning are coming off three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals appearances – including championships in 2020 and 2021 – and are trying to become the first team to reach four in a row since the New York Islanders' five from the 1979-80 season through 1983-84.

Against the Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay opening the scoring 78 seconds into the action through Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, before Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov added first-period goals to reach the intermission at 3-0.

Toronto clawed it back to 3-2 thanks to goals from Ryan O'Really and William Nylander, but that would be as close as they would get as the Lightning struck quickly with three goals of their own before the end of the second period to put the game away.

Brayden Point scored twice, Kucherov and Corey Perry collected a goal and two assists each, while Cirelli and Ross Colton also both scored and assisted in a stat-stuffing night for the Lightning.

Cooper said he knew his squad would be energised by the playoff atmosphere, even in a road environment.

"We've been there before," he said. "We've been down this road. 

"To be honest, you embrace these moments, and the atmosphere at the beginning of the game, the anthems and the crowd going nuts, it's a wonderful experience. It's not something you should shy away from, and we talked to the guys about that.

"I will never question the guys in that [locker] room, and as the coach, you always want the best, but deep down inside you know there’s a whole bunch of gamers in that room… we knew they would come out to play."

Goal scorer Colton said he was hoping the Lightning would be able to "flick the switch" now that the important games have arrived.

"I think we were excited for it," he said. "I think for a while there we weren't playing the way that we wanted to play. 

"We kept saying that we were going to flick the switch, and at some point we had to stop talking about it and start doing it. 

"So the playoffs, against the Leafs, in this building – it was obviously electric."

Perry agreed, adding: "We had a tough March, a tough end of the season, but it's about the playoffs, and that's what we were doing. We're trying to get our game into shape to come in here and play."

Game 2 will remain in Toronto, before the series heads to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4.

Eric Haula called the New Jersey Devils' 13-game win streak-ending 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday as the "complete hurricane" after having three goals disallowed.

The game was halted for six minutes in the third period after fans at Prudential Center after fans littered the ice in protest at the Devils' third disallowed goal of the game.

Dougie Hamilton scored the Devils' lone goal after that delay, proving to be a consolation, after John Tavares and Pontus Holmberg's first-period goals for the visitors.

Toronto goaltender Matt Murray made 34 saves as the Devils failed in their bid for a 10-0 record against Canadian teams this season. The Devils also fell one win short of a new franchise record.

"It was a little bit frustrating," forward Haula told reporters. "It just seemed like it wasn't quite in control in some ways, and then it got crazy.

"Tough luck for us. Tough bounces. If [the streak] was going to end, it was going to end like that. A complete hurricane."

The first of the disallowed goals saw the Devils fail on a coach's challenge for goalie interference from Nathan Bastian with Jonas Siegenthaler's goal waved off.

Damon Severson's second-period goal was disallowed as Tomas Tatar was deemed to have made incidental contact with Murray, bundling him over and leaving the net open.

Haula was involved in the third disallowed goal in the third period, kicking the puck off an opposition skate and into the net, prompting fans to protest, tossing garbage on the ice.

Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said: "We've got some passionate fans and I think it was on display tonight."

"You don't often see three in one game. But we saw three in one game… The overturned goals, some of those are 50-50. Some of those you take a chance on."

New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff hailed his side's play after extending their win streak to 11 games with Thursday's 3-2 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Yegor Sharangovich scored on a rebound 57 seconds into overtime, for his fourth goal of the season, while goal-tender Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves as the Devils improved to 14-3-0.

The Devils' 11-game unbeaten run is tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history, with the longest being 13 from 2000-01 when that side were Stanley Cup runners-up.

"I don’t know if we're really focusing on the rest of the league," Ruff told reporters when asked if the win streak was a statement for other teams.

"You've got to have a lot of good things happen to run a streak like this. In this league, a goalie can beat you, a couple of bad bounces can beat you. We've definitely played with a lot of pace and a lot of speed and been able to take it to a lot of teams."

One player who has been central to the Devils' success is captain Nico Hischier, who put his side up with his second-period goal, before William Nylander's quick shot with 2:09 remaining in the third sent it to overtime.

Ruff suggested that Swiss 23-year-old Hischier should be a candidate for the Selke Trophy, the NHL's top defensive award, comparing him to five-time winner Patrice Bergeron.

"He's a power-play guy, he's one of our top penalty killers," Ruff said about Hischier. "You look at where he is with his play away from the puck, I actually think he should be a candidate this year.

"If he can stay healthy, his two-way game is right up there with the likes of Bergeron."

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe rued his side's 23 giveaways compared to the Devils' 14, acknowledging that is what sets them apart.

"We get the puck back and you give it right back to them," Keefe said. "Can't happen.

"We beat ourselves at times and gave them free goals. They didn't beat themselves at all. That's how you win 11 in a row — you don't beat yourself."

The Washington Capitals have filled their biggest need on the NHL's first day of free agency by signing Stanley Cup champion goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a five-year, $26.25million contract.

Kuemper joins the Capitals off a highly successful lone campaign in Colorado in which he tied for fourth in the NHL in wins (37) and shutouts (five) and ranked fifth among qualified goaltenders with a .921 save percentage during the regular season.

The 10-year veteran then posted a 10-4-1 record with a 2.57 goals against average in 16 postseason starts to help the Avalanche to their first championship since 2001.

"Darcy is an established starting netminder who proved that he can win on the game's biggest stage, and we are excited to welcome him to Washington," Capitals senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan said Wednesday in a statement.

"We feel this signing will provide our team confidence and stability in net."

Kuemper, an All-Star in 2019-20 with the Arizona Coyotes, will be asked to stabilise a position that was often inconsistent for the Capitals last season.

Washington netminders combined for an .898 save percentage in 2021-22, the lowest of any team who reached the playoffs, and the team have since parted ways with their two main goalies from last season in Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov.

Vanecek was traded to the New Jersey Devils last week, and Samsonov signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs after the Caps declined to tender a qualifying offer to the restricted free agent.

Washington also signed former St. Louis Blues goaltender Charlie Lindgren to back up Kuemper, who owns a 143-95-36 record with a 2.48 GAA and .918 save percentage in 299 career games with Minnesota, Los Angeles, Arizona and Colorado.

The Avalanche prepared for Kuemper's expected departure by acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers last week and signing him to a three-year, $10.2m deal. Georgiev will compete with holdover Pavel Francouz for Colorado's number one netminder job.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar added yet another incredible accomplishment to his resume by being named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the playoffs, as his side secured the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 win in Game 6.

In doing so, Makar became the first player to ever win all five of the Hobey Baker Award for best player in college hockey, the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year, the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the NHL's top defenseman, the Conn Smythe Trophy, and a Stanley Cup.

It is a resume that will likely book his place in the Hall-of-Fame when all is said and done – and he does not turn 24 years old until October.

Speaking to ESPN after the final siren sounded, Makar said it was a dream come true.

"I just look at [my teammates], and all the work these guys have put in," he said. "They've been here so many years, the ups and downs.

"It's just so awesome to be a part of them getting rewarded for all their hard work and success over the years. I'm just so proud of the boys.

"You grow up, you see [the Stanley Cup trophy] as a kid, you have pictures of it on your wall.

"All I think about is everyone that got me here – my family is in the stands, so it's amazing, wherever they are. It's just surreal, amazing."

He added: "It's just been building over time. I've been here only three years, with a couple tough exits in playoffs.

"It was just all leading up to this. Oh man, if you told me this was going to be three years in, I would've said I don't know… it's just amazing, I don't have any more words."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar spoke about what it felt like to guide this team to the mountaintop.

"I'm feeling every emotion you could possibly think of," he said. "I'm just so happy and so proud of these guys, and what they've put in.

"To see them get rewarded for all their hard work is hard to describe. There's this sense of relief, a sense of satisfaction – it's still sinking in.

"When the buzzer went there was almost disbelief that we got the job done. It's been an amazing ride, and I'm just grateful that I've been able to be a part of it with this team."

He went on to touch on just how hard it is to actually make it all the way, and the evolution he has seen over the past couple of seasons.

"It's so difficult to get here, and that's why I'm so impressed with the Tampa Bay Lightning to be able to do it three years in a row and win two Cups, it's incredible," he said.

"We've gone from just being a skill team that was fun to watch, to digging in and getting more competitive in a lot of areas, and more determined in a lot of areas, but they're such a close-knit group and a resilient group.

"Whether we've learned that with maturity, or the last couple seasons of heartbreak, this group has been so focused to accomplish their goals, that's why I'm so happy they got rewarded. It's been a long journey for a lot of these guys, and it's been an amazing ride."

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic – who spent 13 seasons as a player in Colorado, including both of the franchise's previous Stanley Cup seasons – said he is filled with joy for the older players in the team who may have thought they would never get one.

"It feels great, it's amazing," he said. "This is something you dream of. I'm so proud of the players, particularly the older guys that have been around.

"Guys like [Nathan] MacKinnon, [Gabriel] Landeskog, Erik Johnson, they didn't want to leave, they wanted to be a part of it. I'm happy for those guys.

"You bring in a guy like Jack Johnson who hasn't won, and [Andrew] Cogliano comes in, and these older guys who have been around a long time and now have their opportunity to win their first cup. Being a former player, you know how happy they are, and how relieved they are to have a chance to lift the Stanley Cup."

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