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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup History Will Be Made Monday. One Way Or Another



Stanley cup
The Florida Panthers will be back home for a Game 7 few saw coming as the Edmonton Oilers try to successfully come back from a 3-0 series deficit Monday night in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

The Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers will make Stanley Cup Final history on Monday night — one way or another.

The Panthers will try, again, to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the 30-year history of their franchise.

The Oilers will attempt to win their fourth straight elimination game and become only the second team to win the title after being down 3-0 in a championship series.

The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs rallied to beat the Detroit Red Wings and remain the only NHL, NBA or MLB team to ever do so in a best-of-7 series.

Edmonton is already just the third NHL team to win three straight games in the Cup Final after being down 3-0 — and the first since the 1945 Red Wings.

The Panthers need to get over this, and quick.

“Well, right now, if you walked into the room, there won’t be a lot of happy people,’’ Florida coach Paul Maurice said.

“I’m not worried about what it does tonight. It doesn’t have to be right tonight. You’ve suffered a defeat, you feel it, it hurts. You lick your wounds and we start building that back tomorrow. But who you are tonight means nothing to who you’re going to be two days from now.”

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On one side, you have a Florida team which is on the verge of an epic collapse.

The Panthers had a 3-0 lead after winning in Edmonton in Game 3, with the ability to bring the Stanley Cup home with a win in Game 4 a week ago.

Instead, Edmonton throttled the Panthers 8-1 and the Oilers were off and running.

The Oilers have now outscored the Panthers 18-5 in the past three wins with Florida only on occasion looking like the team which ran off with dominant playoff wins against the Lightning, Bruins, and Rangers.

Florida flew back to Edmonton for Game 6 and was looking to win its fifth straight playoff Game 6 dating to Washington in 2022.

Instead, the Panthers fell behind 2-0 early in the second and went into the third down 3-0.

Florida put some pressure on Stuart Skinner and the Oilers but never got closer than 3-1.

Now, the Panthers come home with a fourth try at winning the Stanley Cup.

Losing Game 7 would not only prevent the Panthers from claiming their game’s ultimate prize, but coughing up a 3-0 lead in the process brings a whole different storyline — one which will be hard to shake.

“It’s tough,’’ Carter Verhaeghe said. “Obviously, a tough one to take. It’s obviously, tough, but we’re excited to go home and play a Game 7 at home in front of our fans and it’s going to be a good one.”

Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch, to his credit, would not talk about the odds of a comeback after being down 3-0, but he did say he was fully expecting to enjoy 10 more days with his team.

He is getting it now.

“It’s been fun. It has been stressful. We’re just playing,’’ Knoblauch said. “I know we’ve surprised a lot of people, but I don’t think we’ve surprised anybody in the room. You know, we felt we could do this. We’ve gone on winning streaks before.

“We felt early in the series, down three, we felt we could have won two of those in our opinion. We felt we played well enough to win those and they just didn’t go our way. And now we’re just playing, our backs up against the wall, we’ve been written off many times throughout the season. We’ve been a pretty loose group. It’s nice to be around this team, because I think they’re having the time of their lives right now, Not just because were going to Game 7, but I think we were having a great time when we were down three games.”

Said Zach Hyman: “A lot of people weren’t so interested in the Final when it was 0-3, but now I’m sure a lot of people will be tuning in. That’s why sports is amazing, because the unthinkable can happen. We’re in a spot where we thought it could happen, when nobody else believed that it could. Now we’ve got an opportunity. That’s all you can ask for.”

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Best of 7 Series Tied 3-3

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