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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Montour Says Florida Panthers Needed Shake Up on Power Play

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Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour says his team needed to make a change on the power play after a 1-16 start in the Stanley Cup Final. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

EDMONTON — After giving up a shorthanded goal in back-to-back games, the Florida Panthers are making a switch to their power play ahead of the Stanley Cup Final.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be taking Brandon Montour’s spot on the point of the top power play unit as the Panthers look to close out the series and win the Stanley Cup.

In Florida’s two attempts to close out the series after taking a 3-0 series lead, the power play is 0-for-7 with a goal differential of minus-2.

But even its three wins, they are 1-for-9 with the man advantage and it was evident a change needed to be made.

After manning the top unit for most of the regular season, Montour took the change well when coach Paul Maurice brought it up to him.

“It hasn’t been working, so we needed a little change up,” Montour said. “Regardless of who’s out there, whether it’s 1 or 2, I’m going to get some power play time. So it frees it up, it’s a little change. Nothing drastic. I’ve been on power play 2, I’ve been on no power plays. As a unit, we’ve been together for a while, and [Ekman-Larsson] has been there this year while I was hurt and in games throughout the year as well, so it’s nothing too crazy.”

Ekman-Larsson will get his chance to man the top unit again after doing so when Montour and Aaron Ekblad were both injured to start the season. In that time, Florida’s power play was the 20th-best in the NHL while operating at a 19.2 percent clip.

The 32-year-old blueliner had his best season points-wise since the 2018-19 campaign and is ready to chip in where he can.

“If I get that chance, I’m ready for it,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I played there a little bit in the beginning of the year and I’m just happy for that opportunity. Obviously, Monty has been good all year. He’s been moving the puck well on the power play and winning us some big games, so I’m just going to stick with it, keep having good looks and keep working hard. Let’s start there.”

As for Montour, he is not discouraged by the mistakes he made in Games 4 and 5.

Both of Edmonton’s shorthanded goals in their two elimination game victories came off of slow, miscommunicated passes near the blue line which turned into breakaways going the other way.

To Montour, the best way to eliminate those is to not overthink it.

“I have the confidence to make plays and limit the mistakes, but with the amount of times I touch the puck during a game, I’m bound to make mistakes,” Montour said. “The quicker you wash it, the better, right? So, for me, that’s helped me limit those mistakes, but again, they’re going to happen. Obviously last game, I didn’t like that first play, but again, tonight’s another night to clean that up and put one in the net.”

As Ekman-Larsson takes over his spot on the top unit, he echoes that same sentiment.

“We need to simplify it a little bit,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I obviously don’t want to sit here and give everything away. We just have to try to simplify it and try to have fun with it. We have unbelievable players here that play on the power play and both units have been good all year, so simplify it and take a little bit more chances.”

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

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (3-2) LINES

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart

17 Evan Rodrigues // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 10 Vladimir Tarasenko

94 Ryan Lomberg // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 21 Nick Cousins

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola //  62 Brandon Montour

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 7 Dmitry Kulikov

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

41 Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Kyle Okposo, Steven Lorentz, Tobias Bjornfot, Uvis Balinskis, Josh Mahura, Jonah Gadjovich, Spencer Knight, Rasmus Asplund, Mike Benning, Magnus Hellberg, Matt Kiersted, Will Lockwood, Mackie Samoskevich, Justin Sourdif, Patrick Giles

PROJECTED EDMONTON OILERS (2-3) LINES

93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins // 97 Connor McDavid // 18 Zach Hyman

71 Ryan McLeod // 29 Leon Draisaitl // 55 Dylan Holloway

13 Mattias Janmark // 19 Adam Henrique // 28 Connor Brown

37 Warren Foegele // 90 Corey Perry

14 Mattias Ekholm // 2 Evan Bouchard

25 Darnell Nurse // 73 Vincent Desharnais

86 Philip Broberg // 27 Brett Kulak

5 Codi Ceci

G 74 Stuart Skinner

G 30 Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Derek Ryan, Sam Gagner, Sam Carrick

Injured: Evander Kane (sports hernia), Troy Stecher (ankle)

Edmonton Oilers Lines Courtesy NHL.Com

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