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Instant Reaction: Oilers beat Panthers in Florida to force Game 6 back home

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Photo credit:© Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
See you in Edmonton.
Wouldn’t you know it, the Edmonton Oilers are dragging the Florida Panthers back to Alberta for Game 6, as they defeated the Panthers by a score of 5-3 in Game 5. They’re staying alive, and Friday night is going to be LOUD.
Stuart Skinner’s Game 4 was largely overlooked, but he was terrific and made numerous huge stops, especially on cross-ice passes to his left. Wouldn’t you know it, but he made another fantastic save the exact same way early in the game to keep it scoreless.
For the second straight game, the Oilers scored the opening goal on the power play – I mean shorthanded. This time, it was Connor Brown picking off a “D to D” pass and out waiting Sergei Bobrovsky on the breakaway. More on this goal in the Things Worth Mentioning.
Much like the Dallas series, Edmonton’s power play has gotten going in the *if necessary games, as the first power-play goal of this game came thanks to Zach Hyman sitting in front of the net. It must’ve hurt, but I’m not sure he cares.
The Oilers took a 3-0 lead five minutes into the third period thanks to Connor McDavid’s first goal of the series and his seventh goal of the postseason. Just a very intelligent shot to beat Bobrovsky.
It didn’t feel like the Oilers would coast to a win at any point in this game, and the Panthers made sure of that. Matthew Tkachuk got off the schneid after Dylan Holloway was unable to clear, beating Skinner’s high glove on a semi-breakaway.
McDavid did McDavid things, dangling through the entire Panthers penalty kill to find Corey Perry at the tail-end of the power play, their second of the night. I don’t really need to go into detail, you’ve seen it, and you should watch it again.
All the Oilers needed to was string a few good shifts together to snuff out any Florida comeback. Unfortunately, Florida scored the next shift as Evan Rodrigues won a puck battle in the crease to tuck it home, making it 4-2.
Early in the third period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson beat Skinner’s high glove on a shot the Oilers’ netminder wishes he could have back, making it a one-goal game with loads of time left.
The good news is the Panthers’ comeback fell short though, as with seconds remaining on the clock, Connor McDavid scored his second of the game into the empty net giving the Oilers a 5-3 lead and dragging the Panthers back to Alberta.

Things worth mentioning…

Connor McDavid has eight points in his last two games, which is a Stanley Cup final for most points in a two-game span. McDavid now has 42 points (eight goals, 34 assists) and trails Wayne Gretzky’s record by just five. Six points in two games is lightwork for McDavid.
Stuart Skinner had a terrific game, including numerous big saves at the start of the first period when the Oilers really needed it. Of course, Brown’s goal alleviated the pressure, but Florida controlled the pace before that goal.
Zach Hyman was inches away from doing something that hasn’t been done in my lifetime – scoring 16 goals in a postseason run. The last time it happened was when Joe Sakic scored 18 goals during the 1996 postseason. He’ll have at least one more chance to do so.
Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown are dawggggs. Since Game 4 of the third round, they’ve scored three shorthanded goals, including two in the past two games. In fact, this postseason, they’ve outscored the other team’s power play 3-1.
Only three other teams have forced a Game 6 down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals. We all know about the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the only team to win an SCF series down 3-0, but the 1945 Leafs blew a 3-0 lead to the Detroit Red Wings before eventually winning in Game 7. The last time it happened was in 2012, when the Los Angeles Kings went up 3-0 on the Devils. That game ended in six by a score of 6-1. It’s worth noting that the Devils weren’t on home ice, but hopefully the same doesn’t happen to the Oilers!
Up next: The Oilers play their final home game on Friday regardless of what happens in Game 6. Obviously, it’s a must-win game for the Oilers, but even if they lose, it’s so nice to get one more game at Rogers Place. Win the game, and both teams fly back to Florida for the decisive Game 7. Let’s hope that happens.

If you enjoy my content, can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.

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