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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers Get Another Shot at The Cup in Edmonton

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Florida Panthers defenseman Gus Forsling celebrates his first period goal in a 4-3 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final last Thursday in Edmonton. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)

The Florida Panthers, for the third straight game, will try to win the Stanley Cup tonight.

For the second time in those three games, they will be attempting to pull off their ultimate dream in enemy territory.

Edmonton, where hockey is bigger than anything else, has been waiting for this game since their beloved Oilers blew out the Panthers here in Game 4 and kept Florida from bringing the Cup back with them last Saturday night.

The Oilers, instead, brought the Panthers back to northern Alberta with a 5-3 in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Sunrise.

Edmonton will be ready.

Will the Panthers?

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“You embrace it. That’s the biggest thing,’’ Evan Rodrigues said. “You have to embrace going into an opposing team’s building with a loud crowd and using it as motivation. We did a good job doing the same thing in Boston and new York, even in Tampa, three very loud crowds, Game 3 in Edmonton and you just have to embrace it, have to enjoy hearing the noise, almost against you.

“It’s easy at home to use the fans to get you motivated but if you look at it with a certain frame of mind, you can use the opposing crowds’ energy, use it as fuel to get you going and have fun with it and enjoy it. That will be key for us.”

The Panthers were, indeed, prepared for the loud Rogers Place crowd when the played here last.

Yes, Florida lost Game 4 — but the crowd probably was not the reason for that.

The Panthers’ first experience with a Canadian playoff atmosphere was a positive one as they took a 4-1 lead into the third period in Game 3 and held on for a 4-3 win.

Like Rodrigues said, raucous buildings do not appear to affect the Panthers in the negative.

It did not in Tampa, Boston, or New York — and did not in Edmonton in Game 3.

“We’ve already done it, for both teams,’’ coach Paul Maurice said. “Yeah, the crowd is going to be lit up, just like the last game here (in Florida) was incredible. Like all of these games, it is just on fire, so you almost feel it less. There’s a truth to kind of desensitization to extreme events. I don’t know.

“A fireman, firewoman … first day on the job, first fire they go to, it’s on. There’s a lot going on. Ten years in, ‘Yeah, the blaze is three times the size. Doesn’t matter. You know what? I’m going in.’ There is something to that. So, the more playoff experience you get as a group, I’m not saying there’s going to be less juice, it’s just you’re not going to be overwhelmed by it because you’ve felt it.”

Home ice advantage, it should be noted, still belongs to the Panthers.

The biggest advantage, however, is the fact Florida has to win one game coming into tonight; Edmonton needs two.

“Both teams have been able to come into the other building and win a game they needed to win, and everybody’s got it now,’’ Maurice said. “They don’t need to turn the music up any more to get the players more jacked up. It’s there.”

Said Rodrigues: “I think if you were to tell anyone we’d be up 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final,  you would be pretty ecstatic about it. I also think, if you asked any player in any series if they’d want to sweep their way to a Stanley Cup, then they would all say ‘yeah’ too. We have an opportunity to go into a hostile environment in Edmonton and win a hockey game. It’s a simple mindset we’re going out as a group, we’re going to stick together, we’re going to do it for the guy next to us, go out there and win a game.”

More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL
EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS 
GAME 6
Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2

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