Instant Reaction: Oilers shutout by Panthers in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals

Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers
Photo credit:Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
Thankfully, the Stanley Cup Final isn’t a best-of-one series, as the Edmonton Oilers fell 3-0 to the Florida Panthers, losing Game 1 of the seven-game series.
For only the fifth time in 19 postseason games, the opposing team scored first on the Oilers. The Panthers had a 3-on-2 odd man rush and after two passes, the puck found its way to Carter Verhaeghe, who beat Stuart Skinner short side to give the Panthers the 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game.
Florida’s first shot of the second period also found its way to the back of the net, as a missed assignment in front of the net allowed Evan Rodrigues to beat Skinner glove side to give the Panthers the 2-0 lead.
The Panthers iced the game with an empty net, winning Game 1 3-0.
Things worth mentioning…
The Oilers were Oiler’ed, as they outshot the Panthers 32-18, yet fell 3-0 where it mattered most. Some other notable stats are that the Oilers were 40.4 percent at the faceoff dot and were outhit 63-35. While they dominated the first half of the game, the Panthers trapped the Oilers to death in the second half, turning the game into a pretty boring one.
Something has got to give with Edmonton’s second pairing. The Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci pairing was on the ice for both goals and while the forwards were slow getting back for both those goals, this pairing has been a disaster all postseason. Perhaps elevate Philip Broberg to play alongside Nurse on his off-hand and bring in Vincent Desharnais for Ceci in Game 2.
Stuart Skinner saved 15 of 17 shots, giving him a .882 save percentage. While that doesn’t look great on paper, neither of the goals was his fault. You want your goalie to make a big save, and he made a few of them, including this one at the end of the second period.
Sergei Bobrovsky won Florida that game, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. From a huge stop early in the first period to the end of the game, he kept Florida in it. The Oilers got to mix it up in front of him, I’m not saying give him a prime Goldberg spear, but they need to get in his kitchen a little more.
This ain’t Dallas, this is Florida. The Panthers are known for starting scrums after every single whistle, and the Oilers can’t shy away from it. Corey Perry and Evander Kane need to make a huge impact in this type of series. Get physical, start stuff after whistles, and beat Florida at their own game.
The Oilers penalty kill has killed off 30 straight kills, going 2/2 this evening. On the broadcast, they noted that it is the seventh-longest in postseason history. The power play didn’t have as much success though, going 0/3.
Up next: Game 2 of the seven-game series comes on Monday at 6:00 PM MT in Florida. The Oilers didn’t necessarily “deserve” to win that game, but they certainly outplayed the Panthers. They just got to find a way to beat Sergei Bobrovsky.
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