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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers Frustrate Oilers Again, Up 3-0 in Stanley Cup Final



Panthers cup
The Florida Panthers celebrate their Game 3 win over the host Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night in Alberta. Florida is up 3-0 in the Cup Final. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)

You have to feel for the Edmonton Oilers in this Stanley Cup Final as it appears they have never seen anything like these Florida Panthers.

Hey, join the club.

Members thus far include the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers.

Florida’s tough defensive play stymied the Oilers once again on Thursday night with the Panthers taking a 3-goal lead into the third period before pulling out a 4-3 win in Edmonton in Game 3 of the Cup Final.

The Panthers now lead the best-of-7 series and can win the Stanley Cup with a win in Game 4 on Saturday.

The last sweep in the Stanley Cup Final was in 1998 when the Detroit Red Wings took out the Washington Capitals in 4.

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“We’re trying to figure them out, obviously,’’ said Edmonton star Connor McDavid, who has just three assists in this series. “We have not beaten them in three games. We’ve had stretches that are good, stretches that are bad. Yeah, we’re trying to figure them out.”

The Panthers are pretty easy to figure out.

Doing what is needed to do against them, however, is another story.

Florida locked down on the Oilers for much of the night on Thursday and led 4-1 going into the third period.

Edmonton rallied in the third, but in the final minutes, had no answers.

“We’re playing a good team,’’ Leon Draisaitl said. “I think two of the three games probably could have went either way. We could be up 2-1 right now but that’s not the case and that’s not how this league or this sport works, unfortunately. Just have got to find a way to dig ourselves out.

The Panthers took the first lead of the night in the first period on a Sam Reinhart goal before Edmonton tied it in the second.

Florida scored three unanswered after that to close the second, getting goals from Vladimir Tarasenko, Sam Bennett, and Sasha Barkov.

The Oilers got a pair of goals in the third — one off the arm of Niko Mikkola in front of Sergei Bobrovsky, the other off a deflection — but could come no closer.

Edmonton pulled Stuart Skinner with 1:27 left and did not get another shot on goal to finish things off.

“I think it comes down to every single guy buying into it,’’ Bennett said. “Every single guy is committed to playing that defense-first and that system of coming back, supporting each other. That’s what you need to have success, so it’s really been just a full commitment from the entire group.”

The Panthers are now a win away from winning the whole bleeping thing, but remain focused on Saturday’s Game 4.

As much as coach Paul Maurice loved his Panthers last year, this is the one which may bring him to the Promised Land.

“Every team has its own personality and I can say this, and you’ll have faith in the fact because I’ve said it before, this is a different group,’’ Maurice said afterward.

“They’ve been serious since training camp. They’ve been focused and even keel through the course of the year. We had three blocks of hockey we didn’t love and the first two got corrected quickly and it was basically by them. Showed them a couple of things we can’t do and off they went.

“So, they’re not a whole lot different today than they were three weeks ago. They’ve had a pretty good program. The players have been running that room for the year, from training camp they’ve been running that room. I pop in every once in a while, say hello.”

Another win, and the Panthers will introduce themselves to Lord Stanley’s cup.

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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