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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Matthew Tkachuk Faces Old Rival Edmonton Oilers in Cup Final



Matthew Tkachuk, pictured here with the Calgary Flames in 2022, will face off against his old pals the Edmonton Oilers in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk has quite the history with the Edmonton Oilers.

Enough so that the agitating power forward made sure to mention them during his introductory press conference after he arrived in South Florida via a trade from the Calgary Flames.

“I hate Edmonton,” Tkachuk said that fateful day in June 2022. “But I hate Tampa more now.”

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Two years later, Tkachuk is back into a pseudo-Battle of Alberta in the Stanley Cup Final along with former Flames teammates Sam Bennett and Ryan Lomberg.

But does that hatred still linger?

“I don’t know, I wouldn’t say that,” Tkachuk said. “But any time you’re playing any opponent in the Stanley Cup Final, you don’t even need to have a team rivalry or any rivalry with them. Right wehn the puck drops, it’s going to be very intense like we’ve had that rivalry for years.

“We are very experienced going back to last year in this moment right now. It’s the Stanley Cup Final and there’s so much on the line, so both teams really, really, really want this.”

Still, Tkachuk has been known to come up huge in those intense, physical games and he has had his fair share of experience playing in games of that style against the Oilers in one of hockey’s biggest rivalries.

In 28 regular season games against the Oilers as a member of the Flames, Tkachuk has nine goals and 23 points.

He scored a hat trick in Game 1 of the 2022 second-round series between Calgary and Edmonton before the Oilers won the next four games in the lone playoff rendition of the Alberta rivalry he played in.

At the same time, much has changed in Edmonton even since then.

The Oilers have added more depth on both sides of the puck, Evan Bouchard blossomed into a star on the blue line, the young Stuart Skinner has been holding down the fort in net and Kris Knoblauch took over as their head coach early in the season.

“There’s actually been a little bit of turnover in the last couple of years,” Tkachuk said. “I really haven’t played against Skinner much and I think they defend better as a team than they get credit for.

“I think everybody still thinks about Connor McDavid and company and all-out offense, run and gun, but that’s not really what they’re like.

“Obviously, they have that super high-end offense, but that’s not really what they’re like. They’re obviously more complete now than they were when I was there. They’re a very skilled team. On defense, you have more defensive guys, other than Bouchard, who is unbelievable offensively and their forwards have a lot of speed. I played against them a lot, haven’t seen them much in the last couple of years, we haven’t seen them in six months or whatever, so both teams aren’t too familiar with each other. But I’m sure after the first period, we’ll get a good feel on each other.”

For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

  • When: Saturday, 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:Edmonton at Florida, Saturday; Game 2: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 10; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday June 13; 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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