2024 Stanley Cup Final: Winners and Losers from Panthers-Oilers Game 5

2024 Stanley Cup Final: Winners and Losers from Panthers-Oilers Game 5

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    SUNRISE, FLORIDA - JUNE 18: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal during the second period of Game Five of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on June 18, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

    Well, whaddya know?

    The Edmonton Oilers have dragged the Florida Panthers back to Alberta.

    The teams will take another 2,000-plus mile flight to get there in time for Game 6 on Friday night, which seemed unlikely after the Panthers took a 3-0 series lead but was made necessary on Tuesday when the Oilers beat them, 5-3, in Game 5 at Amerant Bank Arena.

    No NHL team has rallied from three games down to win the Stanley Cup since 1942 and they’re not there yet, but the Oilers have become the fourth team to force a Game 6 in a championship round after losing the first three.

    If Edmonton wins Friday, a winner-take-all Game 7 would be back in Florida on Monday.

    The B/R hockey team was in the fully charged building Tuesday and put together a list of takeaways from what may prove to be a crucial Game 5. Take a look at what we came up with and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments.

Winner: McDavid’s Conn Smythe Case

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    SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 18: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) gets ready for a face-off in the first period during game five of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, June 18 , 2024 at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    This just in: Connor McDavid is good at hockey.

    And even though the five-time scoring champion and three-time MVP had been rendered (relatively) ineffective through three games, only the most deluded watcher wouldn’t have expected him to make an impact.

    He scored once and chipped in three assists in Edmonton’s 8-1 stay-alive rout in Game 4, then took things up another notch in Sunrise by scoring two goals and assisting on two others for the Oilers in a heroic Game 5.

    No. 97 was a force in all facets, but there’ll be a long-term discussion of his helper on Corey Perry’s goal that gave Edmonton a 4-1 lead at 8:06 of the second.

    Sportsnet @Sportsnet


    McDavid had already been on the ice for better than 90 seconds of a power play when he picked up a loose puck at center ice, weaved to the net through three Panthers and dished to Perry for the veteran’s first of these playoffs.

    Florida rallied within a goal and was pressing with the goalie pulled when McDavid netted the dagger himself with an empty-netter that provided the final 5-3 margin, giving him a second straight four-point night.

    No player in league history has more points than McDavid when facing playoff elimination and his 42 overall points are just five off Wayne Gretzky’s mark of 47 that’s stood since 1985.

Winner: Oilers’ Power Play

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    Anyone who follows hockey knows of the Edmonton power play.

    It’s spiked toward historic success rates over the past two seasons and bedeviled the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars through three rounds.

    But through four games at least, the Panthers had held their own against it.

    Not so much in Game 5.

    The Oilers converted on two power plays in the second period on Tuesday, with both Zach Hyman and Corey Perry getting pucks past Sergei Bobrovsky, both on dual assists from Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard.

    Edmonton had connected on just 6.3 percent of its opportunities through four games.

Loser: Panthers’ Power Play Again

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    Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Florida power play continues to founder.

    Not only were the Panthers denied on all three of their man-advantage opportunities, but they were beaten for a shorthanded goal for the second straight game.

    Bottom-six forward Connor Brown got it done for the Oilers to open Tuesday’s scoring, picking up a loose puck and beating Sergei Bobrovsky with a backhander to open the scoring at 5:30 of the first period.

    Fellow fourth-liner Mattias Janmark pulled off the same feat in Edmonton’s Game 4 win, making the Oilers the first team to score shorthanded in consecutive Stanley Cup Final games since Pittsburgh in 1991. Edmonton is also the first team in league history to open the scoring in two straight SCF games with a shorthanded tally.

Winner: Stuart Skinner Under Pressure

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    It’s been easy to throw shade at Stuart Skinner this season.

    The Alberta native took over the starter’s role for Edmonton only after free-agent signee Jack Campbell was a colossal failure, and there were enough moments from October through April to make Oilers fans pine for big trades or other miracles.

    And lest anyone forget, Skinner was pulled from the crease in the middle of a second-round series with Vancouver and sat for two games while the reins were handed to career backup Calvin Pickard.

    He’s feeling a little better these days, though.

    The 25-year-old was everything the Oilers needed and more in Game 5, stopping 27 of 30 shots, including several from high-danger areas and others after the Panthers had pulled their goalie for a six-on-five advantage.

    It was his second straight win after Edmonton dropped the first three games and he’s stopped 59 of 63 shots in the two victories for a .936 save percentage after he’d racked up an inglorious, especially when compared to Sergei Bobrovsky at the other end, .867 mark prior to Game 4.

    Skinner was 3-0 in the final three games of the series with the Los Angeles Kings, won Games 6 and 7 after the aforementioned benching against the Canucks, and was 3-0 with a .947 save percentage after Edmonton fell behind in the Western final against Dallas.

    “You can never count the Oil out,” he said Tuesday.

Loser: Panthers, Now Feeling Pressure

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    SUNRISE, FLORIDA - JUNE 18: Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice looks on during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers in Game Five of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena on June 18, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Elsa/Getty Images

    There’ll be a sixth game in the series on Friday.

    And few would argue the Panthers remain in the catbird’s seat with a 3-2 edge and a chance to hoist the chalice and skate a victory lap in Edmonton.

    But given where they were just a few days ago, there’s got to be a little tension, no?

    Florida dominated the first three games and had the Oilers up against the wall on Saturday night before the hosts broke through for eight goals. Still, it was considered by some as a mere prelude to a gentlemen’s sweep that’d allow a raucous home celebration Tuesday.

    Now, maybe it’s a little less certain.

    Edmonton staked itself to a 4-1 lead in the second period on Tuesday which meant the Oilers had scored 12 of 14 goals across one full game and part of another. The early onslaught had the Amerant Bank Arena silent for the first half of Game 5, though the decibel level did increase dramatically in the final period as the gap was cut to one goal.

    Several visiting fans stayed put as the building emptied Tuesday and started up a “Let’s Go Oilers!” cheer, but Florida coach Paul Maurice, perhaps the ideal steward for a team in what could be viewed as some turmoil, showed no signs of panic after the game.

    “I’m not feeling deflated,” he said. “Neither is the hockey team.”

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