It’s a Final: Panthers and Oilers Square off for Stanley Cup

By Mike Bonts, Hockey Writer

The Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are set to face off in the Stanley Cup Final beginning Saturdat in Sunrise.

The Oilers eliminated the Central Division winners with a 2-1 decision on the strength of power-play goals from Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman, as well as 34 saves from Stuart Skinner.

Florida defeated the 2023-24 Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers led by six points from both Sam Bennett (4-2-6) and Carter Verhaeghe (3-3-6) as well as a cumulative .921 save percentage and 1.89 goals against average from Sergei Bobrovsky, who allowed more than two goals in a game just once in the series.

The Panthers became the sixth different franchise in the past 30 years to advance to the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive seasons, and the third team in NHL history to eliminate the Presidents’ Trophy winner in consecutive postseasons.

Forward Matthew Tkachuk leads the Panthers in the playoffs with 19 points (five goals, 14 assists), and forward Verhaeghe (nine goals, eight assists) and center Aleksander Barkov (six goals, 11 assists) each has 17 points. Forward Sam Reinhart has 12 points (eight goals, four assists).

Bobrovsky has started every game, going 12-5 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Backup Anthony Stolarz has not played in the playoffs.

The full Stanley Cup Final schedule can be found below:

Game 1 – Saturday, June 8 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

Game 2 – Monday, June 10 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

Game 3 – Thursday, June 13 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

Game 4 – Saturday, June 15 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

*Game 5 – Tuesday, June 18 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

*Game 6 – Friday, June 21 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

*Game 7 – Monday, June 24 | 8 p.m. | ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVAS

*If necessary

The Panthers were 2-0-0 against the Oilers, winning 5-3 at home on Nov. 20 and 5-1 on the road on Dec. 16. Verhaeghe had five points (three goals, two assists), Bennett had four points (two goals, two assists) and center Kevin Stenlund had three points (one goal, two assists). Bobrovsky was 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .941 save percentage.

For Edmonton, center Connor McDavid had three points (two goals, one assist) against the Panthers in the regular season. Forwards Zach Hyman and Evander Kane each had one goal. Starting goalie Stuart Skinner did not play against the Panthers in the regular season. Backup Calvin Pickard started each game, going 0-2-0 with a 4.59 GAA and .873 save percentage.

The teams have not played since Dec. 16 at Rogers Place when Florida posted a 5-1 victory.

Following that defeat, the Oilers had a 36-13-5 record to conclude the season, tying them with the Carolina Hurricanes for the most points and wins in the NHL.

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