Instant Reaction: Oilers keep Stanley Cup dream alive with huge Game 4 victory

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
One down, three more to go.
The Edmonton Oilers kept the Stanley Cup Final alive with a commanding 8-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at home in Game 4. The two teams will now travel to Florida for Game 5 on Tuesday.

What happened…

Darnell Nurse was called for a five-minute kneeing major a few minutes into the first period, but the referees reviewed the play and changed it to a two-minute tripping minor.
It was the Oilers who opened the scoring on Florida’s power play opportunity. Connor Brown chipped the puck out of Edmonton’s zone and went up the ice on a two-on-one with Mattias Janmark, and the duo connected for their second shorthanded goal in the playoffs.
The Oilers extended their lead to 2-0 a few minutes later. Mattias Ekholm fired the puck up ice along the boards and Janmark carried it deep into Florida’s zone. He then made a pass out front that Adam Henrique deflected over Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove side.
The Panthers got on the board in the middle part of the first period. Gustav Forsling fired a shot from the point that Vladimir Tarasenko was able to deflect past Stuart Skinner to make the score 2-1.
Skinner made his biggest save of the series a few minutes later. Sam Bennett made a cross-zone pass to Carter Verhaeghe but Skinner slid across the crease and made a huge stop to preserve Edmonton’s lead.
Dylan Holloway put the Oilers up by a score of 3-1 before the end of the first period. Leon Draisaitl brought the puck into Florida’s zone and fed Holloway, who deked out Bobrovsky and tucked a backhand shot past his stretched-out pad.
The floodgates opened in the second period. Evan Bouchard made a pass up ice to Zach Hyman and he sprung Connor McDavid on a partial break. Edmonton’s captain sniped a shot blocker side on Bobrovsky for his first goal of the series.
Darnell Nurse extended Edmonton’s lead to 5-1 with his first goal of the playoffs a few minutes later. McDavid carried the puck into Florida’s zone and dropped it off for Nurse, who roofed a shot blocker side on Bobrovsky.
The Panthers pulled Bobrovsky after this goal and replaced him with former Oiler Anthony Stolarz, his first appearance in the playoffs.
Things started to get chippy with the Oilers running away with the game in the second period. A scrum broke out in front of Florida’s net and both Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett were called for roughing penalties.
The Oilers extended their lead to 6-1 on the ensuing five-on-three power play. Leon Draisaitl fired a one-timer from a sharp angle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was there to bury the rebound.
The Panthers carried the play for the majority of the third period but the Oilers didn’t stop scoring goals. Dylan Holloway made the score 7-1 with his second goal of the game and his fifth of the playoffs.
Ryan McLeod extended Edmonton’s lead to 8-1 a couple of minutes later with his third goal of the playoffs. The Panthers managed to break up a scoring chance in their own zone by McLeod came in and hammered a slap shot past Stolarz.

Things worth mentioning…

Sergei Bobrovsky came into Game 4 with a .916 save percentage across 20 starts in these playoffs and a .953 save percentage across the first three games of this series against the Oilers. Edmonton finally got to the two-time Vezina Trophy winner with five goals on 16 shots.
The Panthers had done an excellent job of shutting down Edmonton’s top forwards in the first three games of this series but they weren’t able to do so in Game 4. Connor McDavid led the way with four points, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each had two assists, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his first goal of the series.
Connor McDavid passed Wayne Gretzky’s record for most assists in a single playoff run at 32 with three helpers in Game 4 against the Panthers. McDavid has 38 points in the playoffs for the Oilers, which is the fifth-most in a single playoff run in league history. Gretzky’s record for points in the playoffs is 47, set with the Oilers in 1984-85.
Stuart Skinner was rock-solid for the Oilers in the win, as he turned aside 32 of the 33 shots that the Panthers threw his way. The team gave Skinner plenty of support offensively but he made some huge stops when the score was close in the first period and he locked things down in the third.
Up next… The series will shift back to Florida for Game 5. The two teams will have a couple of days off to travel and the Panthers will have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice on Tuesday night. Game 6 would be back in Edmonton on Friday if the Oilers can beat the Panthers again.

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