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Hyman thrilled for Brown: 'A lot of people lost faith in him'

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Though Connor McDavid is grabbing the bulk of the headlines, Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman believes there's another Connor who should be getting his fair share of the credit.

"(Connor Brown) has been unbelievable, even more so in this Cup Final," Hyman told Sportsnet after the Oilers' Game 5 victory. "I think a lot of people lost faith in him. I mean, look how good he's been. He's an unbelievable player, I've played with him for a long time (with the Toronto Maple Leafs) so I knew how good he can be.

"He's showing it every night. At the highest stage, he's one of our best players."

Brown broke the ice during Edmonton's season-extending 5-3 victory Tuesday with a clutch shorthanded tally, his second goal and sixth point of the postseason. Thanks in part to the veteran winger, the Oilers' penalty kill has been lights out in these playoffs with an incredible 93.9% success rate, and the unit was a perfect 3-for-3 in Game 5.

"Special teams obviously were great," McDavid said of his team's latest win. "Penalty kill, there's nothing else to really say. They've been great. Brownie (scored) a massive goal to settle us in."

Brown struggled mightily in the regular season after missing all but four games of the 2022-23 campaign with a torn ACL. The 30-year-old totaled just 12 points in 71 games and had to wait until March 13 to score his first goal as he readjusted to the NHL.

Now, Brown is happy to put all the adversity behind him while helping Edmonton claw its way back into the Stanley Cup Final.

"It's been, obviously, quite the season for me to go from where I was to where I am," Brown said. "To contribute on the biggest stage is what you want to do as a player. At the end of the day, I'm having fun."

The Florida Panthers won the first three contests to put Edmonton into a daunting hole, but the Oilers since won back-to-back games to maintain their dreams of lifting Lord Stanley's Mug.

"We're writing the story, we're taking it into our own hands," Brown said.

When asked if the Oilers have planted a seed of doubt in the Panthers' heads, Hyman said, "It's just human nature."

"That's the beauty of sports, it's never over until it's over," he explained. "Everybody on the outside can think it's over, but the guys in this locker room, we just believe. ... We're two games away, we got a chance, an amazing opportunity to go back home and send it to seven."

The puck drops on Game 6 in Edmonton on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

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