G19+ Game Notes: Stats, data and more stats for Oilers and Panthers

Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers
Photo credit:Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
The week-long wait is over. The 2024 Stanley Cup Final is finally upon us. The Edmonton Oilers will skate in the Final for the eighth time in franchise history, and the first time since 2006, while this is the third trip to the Final for the Florida Panthers. The Panthers lost last year and in 1996, while Edmonton is 5-2 all-time in the Final. This will be the longest distance between two cities in a Final, thus leaving the possibility that, if the series goes seven games, it will take 17 days to decide a champion.
Buckle up Oilersnation, the real fun, stress, nervousness and excitement is about to begin for you.
— Florida is 1-8 in Stanley Cup Final games. They lost 4-0 to Colorado in 1996 and 4-1 to Vegas last year. They lost Game 1 both times, but this is the first Final they will start on home ice. They Panthers are 2-1 in Game 1 this season defeating Tampa Bay 3-2 in round one, losing to Boston 5-1 in round two and they shutout the Rangers 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Final. They are 1-1 on home ice in Game 1 this year.
— Edmonton has a franchise record of 23-14 in Cup Final games. They lost 4-0 to the Islanders in their first Final in 1983 and lost their last appearance in seven games to Carolina. They defeated the Islanders 4-1 in 1984, beat Philadelpha 4-1 and 4-3 in 1985 and 1987 and defeated Boston 4-0 and 4-1 in 1988 and 1990. The Oilers are also 2-1 in opening games this year. They defeated LA 7-4, lost 5-4 to Vancouver and defeated Dallas 3-2 in OT. Edmonton is 1-1 on the road in Game 1 in 2024.
— Prior to this playoff, the Connor McDavid-led Oilers struggled in Game 1s. They were 1-8 in opening games of series between 2017-2023, but this year they have been ready to play in the opening games of series. They led LA 2-0 only 9:36 into the game and were up 4-0 at the 8:24 mark of the second period. In Vancouver, Zach Hyman scored 2:11 into the game and the Oilers led 4-1 at the 13:11 mark of the second period, before they blew the lead. Last round in Dallas, Leon Draisaitl scored 58 seconds into the second period then Hyman gave them a 2-0 lead at the 4:17 mark. Edmonton has led 2-0 in every Game 1 this year. Starts haven’t been an issue in opening games for the Oilers, and despite not playing since Sunday, the Oilers didn’t come out slow v. Vancouver and they had one more day off before Game 1 in that series than they will tonight.
— It looks like Kris Knoblauch will unveil another different lineup tonight. Knoblauch has used his depth to his advantage throughout the playoffs, and isn’t afraid to alter his lineup, and lines, based on who he feels gives his team the best chance to win that night.
With this lineup the Oilers have a 20-goal scorer (this year) on each line, and they have ten skaters who have scored 19+ goals in a season at least once in their career. I’m still surprised when I hear/read people say the Oilers didn’t have as much depth as the Stars and are now saying the same thing about the Panthers.
— Edmonton had eight skaters with 18+ goals this season in Zach Hyman (54), Leon Draisaitl (41), Connor McDavid (32), Evander Kane (24), Adam Henrique (24, spilt between Anaheim and Edmonton), Warren Foegele (21), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18) and Evan Bouchard (18). The Panthers have six with Sam Reinhart (57), Carter Verhaeghe (34), Matthew Tkachuk (26), Aleksander Barkov (23), Vladimir Tarasenko (23, split between Ottawa and Florida) and Sam Bennett (20).
— The Oilers have nine skaters with 10+ even strength goals in Hyman (39), McDavid (24), Kane (21), Draisaitl (20), Foegele (18), Henrique (17), RNH (14), Ryan McLeod (12) and Bouchard (10). The Panthers have eight with Verhaeghe (26), Reinhart (25), Tarasenko (20), Tkachuk (19), Barkov (18), Bennett (15), Anton Lundell (12) and Eetu Luostarinen (10). And the Oilers depth forwards who don’t score goals are on the penalty kill, which is 93.9% in the playoffs. I just don’t understand the “Florida has more depth” opinion. No number backs that up.
— Derrick Ryan and Sam Carrick look to be the healthy forward scratches tonight, and it will be the first time in these playoffs that both will sit out the same game. With them out of the lineup, the Oilers don’t have a right-shot centre. Will that be a factor? Possibly, but likely only on the penalty kil.
Barkov is their main PP faceoff guy. He’s taken 62 draws followed by Lundell (24), Reinhart (16) and Verhaeghe (10). Barkov is 30-32 on draw, while Lundell is 12-12. Barkov struggled v. Vincent Trocheck last series as Trocheck was 14-4 on the PK draws while Barkov was 5-16. Trocheck is one of the best faceoff men in the league, and also a righty. Henrique or RNH will be the guys in the dot against Barkov to start the PK. Ryan has been good on PK draws in the playoffs, going 19-14, but he’s struggled at even strength going 20-32. Ryan was outscored 5-0 at 5×5 in the Dallas series. He struggled and re-inserting Foegele in his place is a smart decision by Knoblauch.
— No question Florida has been the more physical team in the playoffs thus far. Their forwards have 488 hits and their blueline has 251 for a total of 739. Edmonton’s forwards have delivered 412 hits while their defenders have dished out 154 for a total of 566. The Panthers have also taken more hits 727 than the Oilers 653. Edmonton played a physical series v. Vancouver, although it was different because Vancouver’s defenders were the most physical players, while it is Florida’s forwards who hit more, mainly on the forecheck. Edmonton has shown all season, that they play better in more intense games, and we’ll see if that continues this series. The key will be how Edmonton’s defencemen handle the forecheck. Florida has excelled producing goals and chances off their forecheck.

Florida’s best offensive strength this postseason has been their forecheck, while that is the Oilers weakest, as they rank 16th of 16 teams in forecheck chances/game. Florida has created a lot of rush chances but hasn’t finished them very well scoring only five goals off the rush. When looking at the 5×5 data, it is important to note that Edmonton faced three much better 5×5 teams in LA, Vancouver and Dallas than Floriday did in Tampa, Boston and New York. As outlined in this article, Tampa and the Rangers were in the bottom half of the NHL in GF-GA differential and xGF% at 5×5.
— I’m not one who focuses too much on the refs. I find it is a waste of time and recommend Oilers fans (and media) try and avoid falling into the Vancouver trap of focusing on officials too much. I didn’t notice many blatant missed calls in the Dallas series. There has been lots of talk about the Panthers because they took the most penalties in the regular season, however, that hasn’t continued in the playoffs. The Panthers were shorthanded 15 times v. the Rangers but had 19 power plays. In round two v. Boston, the Bruins were shorthanded 28 times, while the Panthers were only shorthanded 16. I think many are incorrectly claiming Florida has more depth, while also saying the Panthers’ aggressiveness is an issue. It hasn’t been in the playoffs. They have learned how to play a physical while being disciplined.
Last year in the Cup Final the Panthers were shorthanded 17 times in the first three games and allowed six goals. They had 12 power plays of their own but didn’t score once on the man advantage. I’d be surprised if we see them running around taking dumb penalties. The Panthers have been shorthanded a total of six times in Game 1 of these playoffs. Tampa, Boston and New York each had two PP chances in Game 1. The Oilers need to control their emotions and not get sucked into taking penalties or retaliatory penalties against the Panthers like New York and Boston did.
— Anton Lundell leads the Panthers in penalties drawn with eight. Followed by Tkachuk (7), Barkov (6) and Bennett, Verhaeghe, Luostarinen, Kevin Stenlund and Oliver Ekman-Larsson have drawn four each.
— Draisaitl leads the Oilers with nine drawn penalties followed by McDavid (8), Kane, Kulak and Hyman (5) and Bouchard (4).
— Game 1 of the Cup Final is more important than the opening games in other series. The winner of Game 1 of the Cup Final has won 76.2% of the seven-game series (62-20). When the home team wins Game 1, they win the series 83.6% of the time (51-10).
— The road team has won Game 1 twice in the last 10 years. Chicago won in Tampa in 2015, while Dallas won (in the bubble) in 2020.
— In the salary cap era, teams who lost Game 1 on the road, but still won the Cup include the 2009 Penguins, 2011 Bruins, 2018 Capitals and 2019 Blues. Road teams who won Game 1 and won the Cup include the 2008 Red Wings, 2012 Kings and 2015 Blackhawks.
— Since 20006, teams who start on the road are 7-11 in the Cup Final, regardless of whether they win or lose Game 1. And in that same time span, the team with the leading scorer in the playoffs is also 11-7.
— So far 89% of playoff games in 2024 have been decided by one-goal or a two-goal margin that included an empty net goal. To date 72 of the 81 playoff games have fallen into the above categories. However, Edmonton and Florida have been involved in eight of the nine games that weren’t decided by one goal, or a two-goal deficit with an empty-net goal (ENG). They won all eight. The Oilers defeated Dallas 3-1 and 5-2, Vancouver 5-1 and LA by scores of 6-1 and 7-4. Edmonton does have two ENG this postseason, but both occurred when they already had two-goal leads.
Florida defeated Tampa Bay 6-1 and Boston by scores of 6-2 and 6-1. The Panthers have scored seven ENG so far in the playoffs, and six of them occurred when they led by one goal. Neither team has tied the game when they were trailing and pulled their goalie. Edmonton has one goal with the extra attacker, but they trailed Vancouver 4-2 when Bouchard made it 4-3. They were unable to tie the game. Florida hasn’t scored a goal with the extra attacker this postseason.

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