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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Oilers at Panthers, Game 1: Stanley Cup Final Begins in Sunrise

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FORT LAUDERDALE — After a long week of waiting, the Florida Panthers are finally set to take the ice for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers.

“I can’t use the word excitement enough,” Evan Rodrigues said.

“I almost wish it was a 1 o’clock game, so you can just wake up, start getting after it and play.”

The circumstances after said wait are a bit different for the Panthers than they were last year after they swept the Carolina Hurricanes to make the Stanley Cup Final.

Both Florida and Edmonton had a nearly identical wait after both took out their respective opponents in six games in the previous round.

The Panthers will also be a lot healthier, with Eetu Luostarinen healthy and ready to take the ice for his first Stanley Cup Final game, and a much deeper and more focused group.

“We have a completely different set of circumstances, right?” coach Paul Maurice said.

“We had this great big unknown going into Game 1. And that was Luostarinen when he got injured in the third period of Game 4 against Carolina. Then we have the 10-day block and they didn’t and there’s all those challenges that go into it.

“Last year, every series was its own complete event and accomplishment by our team. Like, if everybody had to go home after the Boston series, it was a great year. This is more of a continuum and we’re just healthier. What that means in tonight’s game, I don’t know, but we had 27 guys on the ice yesterday and we had 14 reasonably healthy guys left in that practice the year before.”

The Panthers learned a lot from their run last year.

They came back to training camp healthier and stronger, kept the same style of play, and battled through the playoffs with a mature mindset to get back to this point.

“We’re excited to be back here again,” Anton Lundell said. “Last year was a huge learning experience, even if it was tough to lose, but I feel like that’s where the real journey started. We have a lot of the same guys, we added some new guys, we have some more depth, so we’re really excited to write a new story right now.”

Those new depth additions bought into the same mindset and all of the sudden the Panthers are heading into Game 1 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final looking a lot more dangerous than they did in 2023.

“It’s been great to be around this group all year because a lot of teams have the goal of making the Stanley Cup Final, and a lot of teams say in their meetings and it’s cliche, but with this group, it wasn’t our goal,” Rodrigues said. “It was ‘That’s where we’re going and we know what we have to do to get there’ and that was kind of the message all year long and I think the reason is because that is what they went through last year.”

GAME NOTES

The Panthers will run the same lines they did in Game 6 against the New York Rangers.

The starting goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Stuart Skinner.

Sasha Barkov has 13 points (6-7-13) in 16 regular season games against the Oilers.

— With the Panthers, Sam Bennett has produced five goals and eight points (5-3-8) over six games against the Oilers.

— The Oilers are in the Stanley Cup Final for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 2006 — tying Philadelphia for the most Stanley Cup Final appearances by a non-Original Six franchise.

— Florida is in the Final for the third time and second time in as many years. This is the first time the Panthers had home ice.

— This Stanley Cup Final features the longest travel in NHL history with Edmonton and Florida separated by 2,541 miles.

Connor McDavid leads all active Oilers in career regular season scoring against the Panthers with 23 points (8-15-23) in 13 career games.

2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL
EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS 
GAME 1
  • 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
  • Local Betting Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-145); Puck line (-1.5, +165); Over/Under 5.5 (-120/-110). Series Panthers -150
  • Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1:Edmonton at Florida, Saturday; Game 2: Edmonton at Florida, Monday; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday; 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

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (0-0) LINES

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

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

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

18 Steven Lorentz // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 8 Kyle Okposo

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: Nick Cousins, Ryan Lomberg, 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 (0-0) LINES

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

91 Evander Kane // 29 Leon Draisaitl // 55 Dylan Holloway

37 Warren Foegele // 71 Ryan McLeod // 90 Corey Perry

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

14 Mattias Ekholm // 2 Evan Bouchard

25 Darnell Nurse // 5 Cody Ceci

86 Philip Broberg // 27 Brett Kulak

74 Stuart Skinner

30 Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Sam Carrick, Vincent Desharnais, Derek Ryan, Sam Gagner

Injured: Troy Stecher (ankle)

Edmonton Oilers Lines Courtesy NHL.Com

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surveyjay

Talk about a weird mix of excitement, anticipation, and uneasiness. My stomach’s in knots, can’t imagine what the players must be going through. The eyes of the entire hockey world will be on south florida tonight.

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