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Oilers are a professional ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta
, Canada. They play in the National Hockey League
2006 Playoff Run
In the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers played the Presidents' Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings. Though not given much of a chance by experts around the league, the Oilers pulled off a six-game upset, neutralizing Wings offensive weapons Brendan Shanahan, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, in a "lure" that MacTavish designed. It was the team's first playoff series win since 1998. Edmonton would meet the San Jose Sharks in the Conference Semifinal. The Oil weren't expected to win, after point champion Joe Thornton (also acquired from the Bruins to go to San Jose) and goal champ Jonathan Cheechoo had shut down Nashville Predators netminder Chris Mason. After trailing the series two-games-to-none, the Oilers won the next four, vaulting them into Conference Final. In Game Six, Roloson had a 2-0 shutout. In doing so, the Oilers became the first eighth-seeded team to reach a Conference Finals since the NHL changed the playoff format in 1994. There the Oilers would beat the sixth-seeded Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in five games, claiming the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl for a record seventh time.
Edmonton faced the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals (marking the first time two former WHA teams met in Stanley Cup play). Oilers starting goalie Dwayne Roloson was hurt and put out of action for the rest of the playoffs after a collision when Oil blue-liner Marc-Andre Bergeron knocked 'Canes centre Andrew Ladd into him in Game One. After trailing the series 2-0 and 3-1, the Oilers forced a seventh game while riding backup Jussi Markkanen. They could not complete the comeback, though, as the Hurricanes won the final game 3-1. The final Carolina goal being an empty netter.
Two days after their heartbreaking loss to the Hurricanes, Chris Pronger surprised Oiler fans when he requested a trade request on June 23, citing personal reasons. On July 3, he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for sniper Joffrey Lupul, top defensive prospect Ladislav Smid, Anaheim's first round draft pick in 2007, Anaheim's second in 2008, and a conditional first. In addition, many of the Oilers' 2005-06 acquisitions signed for contracts elsewhere: Jaroslav Spacek went to the Buffalo Sabres on July 5, Sergei Samsonov signed with the Montreal Canadiens on July 12, and Michael Peca signed with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs on July 18. In addition, enforcer and fan favourite Georges Laraque, despite offering the Oilers a substantial pay cut in exchange for a no-trade clause, wound up signing with the Phoenix Coyotes, and goaltender Ty Conklin, seeking to rebuild his reputation, signed a two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets the following day. The Oilers also lost 2002-03 New York Rangers acquisition Radek Dvorak to the St. Louis Blues as the Blues signed the unrestricted free-agent on September 14.
Despite these losses, many of the Oilers' core players were re-signed. Playoff heroes Fernando Pisani and Dwayne Roloson signed as unrestricted free agents (UFAs) on the first day of eligibility, July 1. Jarret Stoll, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky filed for arbitration as restricted free agents, but all settled for multi-year deals before their hearings came up; Hemsky, in particular, signed for six years and $24.6 million. The Oilers also brought back centre Marty Reasoner, whom they had traded for Samsonov in March, prospect Tom Gilbert from the University of Wisconsin, defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist from the Minnesota Wild, and defenceman Jan Hejda from Mytishchi Khimik of the Russian Super League, whose rights were acquired from the Sabres for a seventh-round pick. On August 11, Rangers UFA forward Petr Sykora and the Oilers agreed on a one-year contract. Just over a month later, on September 12, Joffrey Lupul and the Oilers agreed to a three-year contract worth $6.935 million.