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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers Could Fittingly Win the Stanley Cup on the Road



Florida panthers
Gus Forsling and Sasha Barkov celebrate with Sam Reinhart after he quieted the crowd with a first period goal in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night in Edmonton. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)

The Florida Panthers have been fantastic on the road this season so, it would seem fitting they could win the Stanley Cup in Edmonton.

The Panthers are a win away from their ultimate goal as they go for a sweep of the Oilers in Game 4 tonight.

Few expected a series sweep, but the Panthers are extremely confident in their game —especially away from the comforts of home.

When the Panthers were wrapping up practice in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday morning, Nick Cousins shouted “time to get two more wins boys!”

Thursday night, the Panthers completed half of the task.

Tonight, the Stanley Cup will be in the building and ready to be handed off to the Panthers.

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“It’s going to be impossible not to be on your mind,’’ Kyle Okposo said Wednesday. “In saying that, when you go to the rink or when you’re preparing for the game, you’re preparing for one game. And that’s it. Your next game is always most important one, so we’re focusing on Game 3.

“Obviously you can think about the bigger picture if you want, but once it’s time to go, there’s no thought of that. It’s about your next shift. It’s about the next period, the next game.”

Florida certainly has its work cut out against an Edmonton team seething after losing the first three games of this series.

The Panthers have been here before.

Sort of.

Last year, Florida clinched two of three playoff series on the road in Boston and Toronto; this postseason, the Panthers won the second round in Boston.

In the playoffs this year, the Panthers are 7-2 on the road with their only losses in Tampa and New York.

Last year, the Panthers set a franchise record with eight road playoff wins — all before the Cup Final.

Florida and Dallas led the NHL with 26 road wins during the regular season.

The Panthers’ defensive style of play is certainly suited for the road.

As Paul Maurice likes to say, they’re not trying to sell tickets on the road.

“We’re not really too concerned with what (Edmonton is) feeling,’’ Sam Bennett said. “We’ve done a good job of limiting their chances. They got some high-powered offense, so our job is to play defense first and limit them as much as we can. I’m not sure how they’re feeling over there, you’d have to ask them but I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far.”

Edmonton offers Florida a few more challenges than it has been used to.

Not only is Rogers Place one of the toughest venues in the NHL — Edmonton dropped to 6-3 there this postseason — but the Panthers were delayed more than three hours for their 6-hour flight on Wednesday.

This is Florida’s first trip outside of the eastern time zone since it was in Dallas back on March 12.

As loud as it was Thursday night in Edmonton, the Panthers handled things right well and now have a 3-0 lead in the Cup Final.

“You have to embrace it, have to put a smile on your face,’’ Evan Rodrigues. “You have to love how loud it is, have to love playing on the road. I think our team has that mentality of trying to silence a building. You’ll never do it, but you can take the life out of it a little. We did a good job of embracing it.”

Edmonton will be desperate in trying to avoid being swept out of the Final.

The last team to be swept out of the Cup Final were the 1998 Washington Capitals.

“We have a strong belief in our group,’’ Zach Hyman said Friday. “People have counted us out the entire year, and the odds say that we won’t win, right? That’s what the all the statistics and the odds say, but the odds said that we weren’t going to make the playoffs at American Thanksgiving, and multiple times in these playoffs we’ve been down and I think we play our best when our back’s against the wall and facing elimination.

“And first time in this series we’re facing elimination, so we’re not thinking too far ahead. We’re just thinking about winning one game.’’

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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