Hours before the puck was set to drop Monday to decide the Stanley Cup, a wave of Edmonton Oilers fans overwhelmed the city's downtown, sluicing merrily through sidewalks, streets and patio bars to the continuous primal honk of car horns.

They came mainly in shorts and Oilers jerseys, happily baking in the summer heat amid the pounding of drums and random chants of “Let’s Go Oilers!” while police attempted to keep some from spilling into traffic.

The city that has not won a Stanley Cup since 1990 was hoping to turn back the clock to 1942 – the last and only time an NHL team came back from three games down in the final to sweep the final four.

Monday's game against the Florida Panthers was taking place 5,000 kilometres and two time zones away in Sunrise, a community just outside Miami.

In Edmonton, about 16,000 fans were to watch the game on a big screen inside the Oilers home rink, Rogers Place, with thousands more watching on a monster monitor in its outdoor plaza.

The watch parties have become a staple of the Oilers two-month playoff run and created instant celebrities, including Mama Stanley, whose real name is Mary Loewen, dressed head-to-toe in silver to resemble the Cup. If she hasn't been cheering on fans, she's been posing for pictures.

In St. Albert, on Edmonton’s outskirts, residents of a seniors home have been posting TikTok fan videos of them dancing in Oilers jerseys and face paint, garnering tens of thousands of views.

"Our residents love the Oilers. They're all in the spirit. They like to get dressed up. Some watch it in their suites, some watch it together on their screen," said Lori Kary, the home's recreation therapist.

Parties in Edmonton were a mother ship to a host of smaller celebrations in pockets across Canada, which has not seen one of its NHL teams hoist the cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.

"We cheer them on every single game of the season," said Derrick DeMone, an Oilers fan in Sydney, N.S., who planned to watch at home at home with his sons.

"I haven't felt like this since I was a young boy, I'll tell you that."

DeMone's home is something of a shrine to his favourite team, with Oilers jerseys, blankets and pillows decorating the inside and several Oilers flags flying outside.

In Saskatchewan, Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch's hometown was set to host a watch party at the local rink on with a special treat — leftover brisket from Rockin' The Rink, a party held Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of the facility's new concrete floor.

"I texted Kris the other night," said Joslin Freeman, the town's chief administrator and a cousin of Knoblauch.

"I said, 'I'm glad you couldn't be here for Rockin' The Rink, but I'll throw you one hell of a party when you bring the Stanley Cup home.'"

In Ottawa, federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was born north of Edmonton in Peace River, Alta., said she grew up with the Oilers dynasty that won five Cups between 1984 and 1990.

"I think today, the captain of all of Team Canada is (Oilers Captain) Connor McDavid, who's a great Ontario boy," Freeland said in Ottawa. "And I want him to know that all of us are cheering for him.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2024.

-- With files from Rob Drinkwater