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2024 Stanley Cup Final

CHAMPIONS: Florida Panthers Win The Stanley Cup

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Panthers cup champions

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers may have taken the long road to get there, but regardless of the path, they will forever be known as Stanley Cup champions.

The Panthers had lost three straight after starting this Final 3-0. Instead of folding, Florida played its most complete game of the series on Monday night and won the only game which mattered: Game 7.

With goals from Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Reinhart, not to mention some elite goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky, the Panthers beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Panthers had taken a 3-0 series lead and it appeared they had it wrapped up — only for Edmonton to win three straight elimination games.

The Oilers would not get a fourth on Monday night.

Edmonton’s loss was its second Game 7 road loss in the Final since 2006; The Oilers were trying to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup in 31 years.

Canada’s wait will have to continue.

The wait for the Panthers, however, will not.

Aside from Verhaeghe (2020 with Tampa Bay) and Vladimir Tarasenko (2019, St. Louis) no Florida player had ever won the Stanley Cup.

Same goes for coach Paul Maurice, who started his NHL coaching career in 1995 with the Hartford Whalers and lost in the Final to Detroit in 2002 and to Vegas with the Panthers last year.

Monday, the Panthers brought the game to the Oilers after having it taken to them in their previous three losses in this series.

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Florida took a 1-0 lead on Verhaeghe’s deflection of a sharp shot from Evan Rodrigues. The Panthers had not led a game since Game 3.

Edmonton ended up tying the score at moments later and it remained a 1-1 game until the second.

Moments after defenseman Dmitry Kulikov — a first-time Cup champion who was a first-round pick of the Panthers in 2009 — swept a loose puck away from the open side of the net, Florida came up on the rush.

Verhaeghe got the puck to Reinhart who brought it up along the wall, ripping a wrist shot from the right circle past Stuart Skinner and giving the Panthers the lead back.

Florida, led by the otherworldly defensive play of captain Sasha Barkov, shut things down in the third period and put the clamps on its 1-goal lead.

Barkov was terrific going up against Edmonton’s high-octane cast of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl among others.

McDavid’s best shot to score came with 7:02 left when Bobrovsky stopped his shot in the slot. Zach Hyman got to the rebound, but Bobrovsky smothered it.

Edmonton had another great scoring chance snuffed out with 3:29 left which was started by Darnell Nurse but Bobrovsky stopped a point-blank slapshot from Cody Cici to keep the score 2-1.

GOALS OF GAME 7

  • Panthers 1, Oilers 0 (4:27, 1st): Moments after a Florida power play ended, Evan Rodrigues whipped a turnaround shot from the half wall toward the net that Carter Verhaeghe deflected past Stuart Skinner.
  • Oilers 1, Panthers 1 (6:44, 1st): Mattias Janmark snuck behind the Florida defense, took a stretch pass from Cody Cici and walked in on Sergei Bobrovsky to tie it.
  • Panthers 2, Oilers 1 (4:57, 2nd): Moments after Dmitry Kulikov swept a loose puck away from a yawning net, Florida came on the break with Sam Reinhart getting his second goal of the series off a powerful wristshot from the right circle.

GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 7

1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida

2. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida

3. Sam Reinhart, Florida

For More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Florida Panthers:
UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS
  • Stanley Cup Championship Parade, Fort Lauderdale: TBA
  • NHL Draft, Las Vegas: Friday-Saturday
  • NHL Free Agency: Monday
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Late September
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: TBA

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