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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Panthers Winning Special Teams Battle vs. Oilers



Panthers oilers
Evan Rodrigues celebrates after scoring the lone power play goal of the Stanley Cup Final in the third period of Game 2 on Monday night in Sunrise. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — The first two games of the Stanley Cup Final between the Panthers and Oilers have been anything but conventional.

In Game 1, Edmonton played well enough to win but got stoned by a red-hot Sergei Bobrovsky.

Game 2 started as a reverse image.

After one period, the Oilers had but four shots on net but held a 1-0 lead. 

They scored on their first shot, which didn’t come until 11:17 of the opening period.

After the first, Edmonton was outshot 9-4; after 40 minutes, Florida had held it to seven shots, yet the score was even.

After a shaky start, the now-famous Florida forecheck went into full blast.

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The power play is not performing as expected for either team — but the Panthers have a goal and are 7-for-7 on the kill.

When it was over, the failure of the Edmonton special teams was costly. 

This has put the Oilers behind the 8-ball as the series heads to their barn.

Edmonton ran up an impressive 34 consecutive penalty kills before Evan Rodrigues tipped in an Anton Lundell shot at 12:26 of the third period for a significant insurance marker.

Entering the game, the Oilers had a 94.1 percent success rate on the PK.

Florida was no slouch, either. 

It entered the game at 88.9 percent, and after killing all four Edmonton attempts on Monday night, the rate is up to 89.7.

Florida killed all seven penalties in the two games.

On Monday, Edmonton managed only one shot on goal in the four power play attempts, although it hit four posts.

A frustrated Leon Draisaitl spoke about the power play after the game.

“I think we’re getting looks,” he said. “It’s obviously not going in right now … I think we’re doing everything but score. We can certainly be better. It starts with me. There’s certainly a lot more to give and be a lot better.”

The power-play execution was better than the stats showed, and Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said the game result could easily have been different.

“The puck’s not going in,” Knoblauch said. “I think we’ve had some good chances. They put pressure on, so you’re not set up as much as you are against the L.A. Kings , but when there’s a breakdown, we’ve had some pretty good looks.

“Like tonight, we could be talking about how good our power play is if those three that go off the goalpost go in.”

There is still optimism on the team. 

“We’ve got to work our way out of it,” Connor McDavid said. 

“It starts with work with our group. They are a unique penalty kill. It’s just like they’re a unique team. They’re aggressive. We’ve got to have guys ready for the puck. We’ve got to have guys making good plays. You’ve got to string good plays together.”

Edmonton’s big quartet of McDavid, Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have one assist (McDavid) between them in the two games.

The series resumes in Edmonton Thursday. 

In the playoffs at home, the Oilers have a 38.5 power-play percentage and a 90.9 penalty-kill rate.

Will the law of averages or the Panthers’ forecheck prevail?

For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 2-0
  • When: Thursday, 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 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

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