June 22, 2024

Panthers-Oilers Game 2 takeaways, early look at Game 3

Following the Florida Panthers3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, many believed the Oilers would come out sturdy to start out Game 2. They did, with Mattias Ekholm scoring the membership’s first objective of the Final.

After that, it was all Panthers.

Evan Rodrigues scored two targets, Florida restricted Edmonton to 19 photographs on objective, and the Oilers’ vaunted energy play was as soon as once more held scoreless.

Here’s what stood out in Florida’s second straight victory, in addition to key gamers to observe in Game 3 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, ABC and ESPN+) and the largest lingering questions.

Panthers grade: A

Florida placed on a clinic of kinds in Game 2. Edmonton managed simply seven photographs on web by the primary two intervals — in comparison with 22 off the Panthers’ sticks — and Florida’s high items had been rolling over the Oilers’ finest gamers.

The Panthers had been smothering from the beginning, and stopped Edmonton from gaining any important traction even after the Oilers opened scoring with a 4-on-4 objective. Florida made Edmonton pay for each mistake — like Evan Bouchard‘s terrible turnover that led to Evan Rodrigues’ profitable objective. The Oilers by no means appeared to get better from that snafu, and the tougher they tried to compensate, the extra Florida settled into their very own groove and dictated tempo within the sport.

Edmonton’s frustration boiled over by the top, and Florida saved urgent till the ultimate buzzer. It’s exhausting to fathom what, precisely, can cease the Panthers now.

Oilers grade: D

There wasn’t only one concern, there have been a number of for the Oilers.

It began with being held to seven photographs by the primary two intervals, which tied a report for the fewest photographs by the primary two frames of a Stanley Cup Final sport. They did not attain double digits till there was 16:05 left within the third interval.

Even after they broke by to have 12 photographs within the ultimate body, they gave up two targets earlier than the Panthers scored an empty-netter late within the third. Keep in thoughts, that is with having a shot share of 71% within the third body in 5-on-5 play.

And if all that wasn’t sufficient, in addition they struggled to insulate Stuart Skinner. While the Oilers have labored to persistently restrict opponents, Skinner has proven he can deal with a heavier workload and his workforce can nonetheless win. The Oilers had been 5-1 in video games through which Skinner confronted greater than 25 photographs this postseason, a mark that now drops to 5-2.

What we discovered in Game 2

The Panthers have depth for days

Sure, it might be simple to quibble about Florida’s energy play going 1-for-6 in opposition to a superb Edmonton penalty kill that had killed 34 straight man-advantage makes an attempt till Rodrigues scored a third-period, power-play objective. But that is simply it; Florida has skaters on each line able to making a distinction.

Rodrigues scored twice within the Panthers’ victory, whereas defenseman Niko Mikkola grabbed the opposite objective to place Florida on a transparent path to victory (Aaron Ekblad‘s empty-netter was mere icing on Florida’s cake).

The Panthers have top-tier skills who can gentle the lamp at any second however do not require that to achieve success. Even when particular groups are struggling. Even when goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is not good (which he has been near on this sequence). Florida was wonderful in all three phases at occasions in Game 2 as a result of their lineup is powerful and sound from its first to fourth line, from the third pairing to the primary.



Florida’s Niko Mikkola atones for close to blunder with objective seconds later

After almost firing in an personal objective, Niko Mikkola scores on the opposite finish moments later to convey the Panthers stage.

There’s a disconnect with the Oilers

Finding a solution to come again after dropping within the playoffs has been a part of the Oilers’ identification this postseason. They misplaced Game 2 to the Los Angeles Kings in additional time, solely to win three straight to win the sequence in 5 video games. After each loss within the second spherical in opposition to the Vancouver Canucks, they gained. Even after dropping two video games to the Dallas Stars, they gained three straight to shut out the Western Conference finals in six video games.

It’s proof that the Oilers have been capable of make the mandatory changes. But what makes this totally different — aside from it being within the Cup Final — is that the Oilers had at least one victory in earlier sequence at any time when they misplaced. Now they’re in a 2-0 gap dealing with one in every of two realities: Either they reduce the sequence to 2-1 or they face a 3-0 gap understanding they might doubtlessly get swept on residence ice in Game 4.

The Oilers’ strongest guess for secondary offense might be their defensemen

One of the conversations after Game 1 was how 52% of the Oilers’ photographs got here from Evan Bouchard, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Connor McDavid. Game 2 noticed one other quartet cleared the path when it got here to the Oilers’ getting photographs on web: the Oilers defensemen mixed for 13 of the Oilers’ 19 photographs on objective.

No, actually. Mattias Ekholm, who scored the Oilers’ lone objective, together with Brett Kulak, Vincent Desharnais and Bouchard had been liable for 13 photographs. Kulak had 5 photographs, Desharnais and Ekholm every had three, whereas Bouchard had two. The remainder of the Oilers’ photographs belonged to Draisaitl, Hyman and McDavid.

Players to observe in Game 3

Matthew Tkachuk, F, Panthers

Florida hasn’t seen the very best of Matthew Tkachuk but within the Cup Final. That’s to not say Tkachuk hasn’t been seen — he simply hasn’t had the series-shifting, game-changing efficiency of which he has confirmed succesful up to now.

Edmonton’s stage of urgency will skyrocket now that it isn’t solely in a 2-0 deficit however again enjoying for its residence crowd. This is when the Panthers want their stars to step up, and given the uncertainty surrounding Aleksander Barkov‘s standing after the third interval hit he took from Draisaitl, it is on Tkachuk to set a tone for the Panthers and display his management.

And he is fairly conversant in the Edmonton crowd, after skating for the archnemesis Calgary Flames previous to his commerce to the Panthers.

Florida has a possibility to take a commanding lead on the Oilers, and Tkachuk will need to be a catalyst.

Darnell Nurse, D, Oilers

For starters, will Nurse be wholesome sufficient to play in Game 3? Or will the Oilers be confronted to make one other adjustment with their defensive pairings?

Nurse was on the receiving finish of a first-period examine that led to him going to the dressing room. He returned for a 13-second shift, solely to return to the dressing room once more earlier than coming again to the Oilers’ bench. Nurse had only one shift within the second interval and two extra within the third interval.

Getting injured is the newest growth in what has been a making an attempt postseason for Nurse. He was on the ice for 2 targets in Game 1, pushing him to a minus-15 score for the playoffs. That mark is one away from the bottom plus/minus score in a single postseason.

Big questions for Game 3

Will Barkov be out there?

Florida is lucky there are two days between Game 2 and Game 3. That offers Barkov a extra time to be assessed to find out whether or not it is secure for him to get again in motion following the excessive hit from Draisaitl.

Barkov has had an amazing run on this postseason, posting six targets and 19 factors. If he’s unavailable, that places strain on Anton Lundell and the Panthers’ different depth facilities to step up — a tall job at any juncture of the season, however particularly when dealing with an Edmonton workforce that will likely be determined to start out night the rating on residence ice.

Barkov’s standing will likely be at the forefront for Florida till there is a particular reply on his availability.



Why Sergei Bobrovsky is having fun with the ‘enjoyable problem’ of dealing with Oilers

Sergei Bobrovsky joins Scott Van Pelt following the Panthers’ 4-1 win over the Oilers in Game 2.

What should occur for the Oilers to piece collectively a constant efficiency?

Game 1 noticed the Oilers persistently producing photographs for 2 intervals whereas limiting photographs on the opposite finish … solely to lose. Game 2 noticed them rating in opposition to Bobrovsky, however they struggled to get photographs on web whereas permitting a number of probabilities at a time … which led to them dropping.

Through two video games, there have been glimpses of progress, but in addition fairly just a few moments of battle. Part of the narrative with the Oilers this season following Kris Knoblauch’s rent has been the power to make changes. They did so in opposition to the Canucks after they had been down 2-1 within the second spherical. They did it once more after they misplaced two straight within the Western Conference finals to the Stars.

Can they as soon as once more discover the appropriate combos to climb out of a 2-0 sequence gap or might they be dealing with the specter of dealing with elimination on residence ice in Game 4?