The Panthers won their first Stanley Cup title in Game 3 over the Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta — With Aleksandr Barkov leading the way aggressively, Sergei Bobrovsky once again on top in goal, the Florida Panthers are on the brink of hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Barkov set up one goal and scored another, Bobrovsky made 32 saves to extend his dominance and the Panthers beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in Game 3 of the Cup final on Thursday night.

They can clinch the first title in franchise history in Game 4 Saturday night in Edmonton.

“We know it’s definitely going to be a tough game,” Barkov said. “We don’t take anything for granted. Every day is one day at a time. It’s one period, one shift, we take it at a time. We’ve been like that all year.”

Florida took another step toward the top of the hockey mountain, pouncing on a few Edmonton turnovers and holding Connor McDavid scoreless. A late rally brought the Oilers within one, but it fell short.

Not long before that, Barkov forced one of Evan Bouchard’s giveaways seconds before Sam Reinhart’s goal.

“It takes the momentum away,” Oilers coach Chris Knoblauch said.

The crowd was wild for the first Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton since 2006.

It will take the Oilers, who have completed four comebacks in NHL playoff history, to end Canada’s Cup drought.

The last year a Canadian-based team won it was in Montreal in 1993, months before the Panthers’ inaugural season. The series was 1-8 in the finals.

Behind Barkov and Bobrovsky, Florida has completely flipped that script. The two leading candidates for the playoff MVP for the Conn Smythe Trophy were the two best players in Game 3, with Barkov getting the most hits from Leon Tricite, who sat out Monday night’s game in Game 2.

See also  Martha Stewart, 81, Becomes Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's Oldest Cover Model: 'Historical Type'

“From the beginning, our competitiveness and our desire and desire to win this was tremendous,” Bennett said. “Everybody was fighting right up to our goalie. It was nice to see the effort. You either have one, or you don’t. We have 23 dogs on our team. You have that choice, or you have it. Don’t.”

Another big reason the Panthers are here is because winger Matthew Tkach also had a big assist and increased pressure on Edmonton.

The Oilers wilted under it, losing a game in which they were often the better team but couldn’t overcome ill-timed mistakes. Skinner had four goals on 23 shots and Warren Fogele, Philip Broberg and Ryan McLeod scored while McDavid was frustrated for the first time all playoffs.

“Finishing, it’s a lot of confidence: shooting the puck,” Knoblauch said.

Doing that to elite opponents, defending them to the point of second-guessing their scoring ability, is a big part of the Panthers’ style, and a big reason why they’re in the league’s biggest arena and keep cool guys on the ice. Championship celebration 2,500 miles from home.

By beating Edmonton Thursday night, they showed no ill effects from waiting to fly from South Florida to Alberta, which was questioned when their flight was delayed by a storm and arrived hours late Wednesday. Buck drop before 24 hours. Instead of looking jet-lagged, the Panthers jumped on scoring opportunities and delivered when it mattered most.

“We’re staying with the moment,” Bobrowski said. “We don’t think too much of ourselves. We stay with the moment and enjoy the moment.”

See also  Saad Ibrahim Almadi: Saudi Arabia frees US-Saudi dual citizen from jail for posting tweets critical of kingdom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *