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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Edmonton Oilers Learn Florida Panthers Come ‘As Advertised’



Florida panthers
The Florida Panthers celebrate their Game 1 win against the Edmonton Oilers to kick off the Stanley Cup FInal on Saturday night in Sunrise. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — Undoubtedly, Sergei Bobrovsky was outstanding in the first three rounds of the playoffs for the Florida Panthers. 

If there was an X factor before the Final began, it was that Bob had not had much work in the earlier rounds.

The most shots he faced in a game were 32 in the opening round against Tampa Bay.

Against the Rangers, he was busiest in Game 2 with 27 shots.

Bobrovsky certainly had a workout Saturday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. 

He all but single-handedly kept the Panthers in the game.

Postgame, the Oilers acknowledged that Bobrovsky and the Panthers’ relentless checking beat them.

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They seemed less upset about the loss but more determined to figure out how to win the next game.

The Oilers outshot the Panthers by a hefty 32-18 margin but lost on momentary defensive lapses, which led to goals by Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues.

“They’re as advertised,” Connor McDavid said.” They’re exactly what they look like on TV: They’re aggressive, theyplay hard, they’re fast, and they work.”

McDavid felt the Oilers came on strong but came up short.

“I thought there was lots to like. I thought we had lots and lots of looks; didn’t give up too much,” he said. “What we did give up was dangerous, and they capitalized. That’s what good teams do.”

The Edmonton power play, which had been running at a whopping 37.3 percent clip coming into the Final, was completely shut down in three attempts, during which they managed six shots.

This was commendable from the Panthers’ perspective, considering that on one of the power plays, Kevin Stenlund, the Panthers’ best penalty killer, was in the box. 

Gus Forsling, perhaps Florida’s top defender, was also not available for one of the penalty kills because he, too, was in the box.

Zach Hyman, who leads everyone in the playoffs in goals, had his share of looks, including one on which Bobrovsky did his acrobatics.

Like his teammates and coach, he is optimistic going into Game 2 tonight.

“I had a lot of chances in my career,” Hyman said. “You just continue to get them, and they’re going to go in. When they go in, they go in bunches. 

“Sometimes you get an amazing look that doesn’t go in. Another time, it hits a shinpad and goes in.

“Hockey is a funny game. The key is to not get frustrated. You just continue to play. You play your game. That’s why it’s a 7-game series. You go out there and execute. I like their game. We had our looks. Tonight, we didn’t score on them, but I’m pretty confident that our team is capable of scoring.”

Capable they are. 

Edmonton lead all playoff teams with 63 goals.

On Sunday, Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch commented on Bobrovsky’s strong showing against his team.

He admitted to “missed opportunities” by his charges but was not dismayed.

“I think it is a just reminder: We’ve seen goalies put on good performances,” Knoblauch said from the IcePlex in Fort Lauderdale. 

“From game to game, it always changes. We’re going to play our game. We control what we can control. What Florida does with their forecheck or their defensive zone coverage or their power play we can’t control that. That’s out of what we can handle. It’s all up to them.

“Same thing for goaltending. We have to just put ourselves in a position to get good, quality scoring chances and bear down on those opportunities. If we’re playing well, they’ll go our way. As good as any goaltender can play against us, we’ll get some production.”

This series has a long way to go. 

Edmonton has proven time and time again this season that they are resilient and can come back.

Game 2 should be a dandy.

For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

Florida leads Best-of-7 Series 1-0
  • When: Monday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • 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: Edmonton at Florida, Monday; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday; Game 4:Florida at Edmonton, Saturday June 15; Game 5*: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday June 18; 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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