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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Desperate Edmonton Oilers Try to Keep Panthers from The Cup



Panthers oilers
The Florida Panthers can win the Stanley Cup tonight in Edmonton — but will face a desperate Oilers team looking to get back in the series. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid channeled his inner Yogi Berra on Thursday night after losing Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Florida Panthers.

Yes, this series won’t be “over ‘til it’s over,” but it’s pretty close.

Teams that have taken a 3-0 lead in the Final has won the Cup 27 of 28 times with the only team coming back was the 1942 Maple Leafs.

Edmonton, for what it’s worth, has trailed a best-of-7 series 3-0 on five different times before this one.

The Oilers have lost that Game 4 all five times.

But, yes, anything is possible and the Panthers know this.

Florida has plenty of confidence, but the certainly do not sound cocky despite the 3-0 lead.

After the Oilers horrendous 2-9-1 start this season, they rattled off two winning streaks of eight games — and another of 16 straight.

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Granted, those wins came against weaker teams than the Panthers, but they showed that the Oilers do not give up easily.

Coach Paul Maurice emphasized that anything can happen in his briefing to the media yesterday.

“After the third game, we could have been up three or down three,” Maurice said. “There are just too many good players with good opportunities to score that you could say one team has a hold on this.

“From the bench, it’s pretty tight out there.”

There is no mention that Florida’s penalty kill is 10-for-10 or that the big stars of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been held to three assists by McDavid.

Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch is far from giving up, rationalizing that Thursday’s third-period comeback indicated his team is capable of a rebound.

“I think there’s a lot of belief,” said Knoblauch, who came in after that horrid start to the season.

“You look at our season this year. … When things go well, we can really turn it up. I think we showed that we can beat this team. I think there’s a lot of belief in that. It’s not like we’re getting outplayed and we’re just (saying) ‘that team’s better than us.’

“I don’t think there’s anything that I need to say to the team and convince them otherwise. I think everyone in that dressing room feels the same way I do. We can string together a lot of wins. We’ve shown it. Obviously, the stakes are a little higher. We’re playing a better team. … I don’t think there’s any doubt in our room.”

The Oilers are far from ready to concede.

Matthew Tkachuk shared a similar viewpoint as his coach and probably spoke for all of his teammates when it comes to thinking beyond the next game.

“We don’t look at that stuff,” Tkachuk told the media. “You guys do. I’m sure a lot of other people do, but we don’t. Coming in today, having a nice recovery day, you do what you can to get ready to go for tomorrow.

“We’ve done such a good job in having that one-game simple mindset. Win your first period; win your first few shifts; that’s all you’ve got to do tomorrow. It’s a calm and relaxed group today.”

Said Anton Lundell: “They’re going to give everything they have, and we need to be able to give everything we have. It’s going to be a great game tomorrow.”

The Panthers are not looking ahead, although what may come next should excite them.

For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-0
  • When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta
  • National TV: ABC
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: Florida at Edmonton, Saturday; Game 5*: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday June 21; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary
  • How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2.
  • This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17).
  • Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: First Meeting

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