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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Leaking, Oilers: Florida Panthers On Verge of Stanley Cup, Up 3-0

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Panthers cup

The Florida Panthers are on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup.

Yes, the Florida Panthers.

The Stanley Cup.

Say it again.

On Thursday night, the took control of  the host Edmonton Oilers in the second period before holding on for a 4-3 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Florida now holds a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

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Only one team — the 1942 Maple Leafs — have rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win the Stanley Cup.

Game 4 is Saturday night in Edmonton.

The Panthers would love to bring the Stanley Cup back with them on their long flight home.

Thursday night, in front of a rocking Rogers Place, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead into the second period on a goal from Sam Reinhart set up by a strong defensive play from Sasha Barkov at the blue line.

“Just from the start, our compete and our will and the want to win this one was huge.’’ Sam Bennett told Emily Kaplan on ABC.

“It showed in all four lines. Everyone down to our goalie were battling their butts off. It was nice to see the effort.  You either have it, or you don’t.

“We have 23 dogs on our team that have that will. You either have it, or you don’t.”

Edmonton tied it early in the second — but then the Panthers opened things up in a hurry.

Florida scored three goals within a span of 6 minutes to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the third.

The Panthers have never lost a playoff game after leading by 3 or more going into the third. They have done so only five times in regular-season history, most recently in 2022 against St. Louis.

Edmonton tried its best to make history in that regard, scoring twice in the third.

In the second, however, Vladimir Tarasenko got things going when he got in front of the net and took a pass from Eetu Luostarinen after Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner misplayed a puck behind the net to make it 2-1.

Panthers cup

The Florida Panthers sold out the lower bowl at Amerant Bank Arena for Thursday’s watch party and had to open up the upper deck due to demand. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Next, it was Matthew Tkachuk hopping on a puck turned over by Darnell Nurse and getting it to Bennett who was crashing the net.

Barkov made it 4-1 at 15:31 of the second when he and Evan Rodrigues came down on a 2-on-1 kicked off by Reinhart.

Not lost in all of this was more spectacular play from Sergei Bobrovsky who made one big save after another early in the second to keep it 1-1.

Edmonton was able to get back into the game despite some strong defensive play by the Panthers with Philip Broberg and Ryan McLeod each scoring to make it 4-3.

Broberg’s shot went off Niko Mikkola; McLeod’s shot was a deflection in front with 5:17 remaining.

Still, Bobrovsky has given up just four goals in three games to the mighty Oilers — and made 32 saves on Thursday.

GOALS OF GAME 3

  • Panthers 1, Oilers 0 (18:58, 1st 4/4): Sasha Barkov creates a turnover in the defensive zone, works the puck up and gets it to Gus Forsling who feeds a streaking Sam Reinhart for the redirection past Stuart Skinner.
  • Oilers 1, Panthers 1 (1:49, 2nd): Warren Foegele gets loose on a breakaway following a missed shot around the boards, walks in and beats Sergei Bobrovsky on the glove side.
  • Panthers 2, Oilers 1 (9:12, 2nd): Skinner misplays the puck behind the net, Eetu Luostarinen charges in and throws it off to backboards to Vladimir Tarasenko right at the doorstep.
  • Panthers 3, Oilers 1 (13:57, 2nd): Darnell Nurse turns over the puck deep in the defensive zone, Matthew Tkachuk picks it up and slides it to former Calgary mate Sam Bennett for the top shelf goal.
  • Panthers 4, Oilers 1 (15:31, 2nd): Reinhart gets things going from the Florida zone, getting it to Evan Rodrigues for a 2-on-1 with Barkov finishing it.
  • Panthers 4, Oilers 2 (6:02, 3rd): Florida fails to clear the puck down low and Philip Broberg one-times a shot off Niko Mikkola and past Bobrovsky.
  • Panthers 4, Oilers 3 (14:43, 3rd): Brett Kulak fires one in from the blue and Ryan McLeod was in front of the net and deflects it through.

GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 3

1. Sasha Barkov, Florida

2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida

3. Sam Reinhart, Florida

2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL
EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS 
GAME 4
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 @ Edmonton, Thursday; 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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