Instant Reaction: Panthers take 2-0 series lead over Oilers with commanding Game 2 win

Florida Panthers Game 2 Stanley Cup Final
Photo credit:© Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
A series isn’t over until the home team loses, but it’s not looking good for the Edmonton Oilers. On Monday evening, the Oilers played the Florida Panthers in Game 2, falling 4-1 in a chippy affair.
Before the first goal was scored, there were THREE kneeing incidents. First was Sam Bennett, who attempted to hit Evan Bouchard, with the Oilers defencemen avoiding the shoulder check. Still, Bennett got a piece of Bouchard’s leg for a tripping penalty.
Then came the controversy, as Warren Foegele was given a five-minute major and the gate after kneeing Eetu Luostarinen in the thigh. You think that the Panther was hit by a bus with how long he stayed on the ice, but he returned after the major penalty. During the major penalty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson kneed Mattias Janmark leading to a full two-minute four-on-four.
During that four-on-four, the Oilers scored their first goal of the Stanley Cup Final, as Mattias Ekholm had a two on one, and beat Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole, the first five-hole goal Bobrovsky has allowed all postseason.
Eventually, the hockey took over (but not really), as Panther defencemen Niko Mikkola scored a point shot after a defensive breakdown from the Oilers forward, tying the game.
Prior to the Panthers second goal, the game-winning goal, Sam Bennett took a run at Philip Broberg, with the initial point of contact being the head. My wager is that Warren Foegle will be suspended, while Bennett will not, even though he intentionally changed his direction to trip Bouchard, as well as this play.
Evan Rodrigues scored the game-winning goal after an Evan Bouchard whiff on the pass, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Skinner was screened by Ryan McLeod, but I’m sure this is one he’d love to have back.
Some more rough stuff in this game, as Leon Draisaitl received a two-minute rough penalty after hitting Aleksander Barkov up high. Thankfully, the tyrant refs didn’t throw the German out of the game, but on the ensuing penalty kill…
The Oilers’ 34-kill streak came to an end, as Rodrigues scored his second of the game with a nice little deflection with barely any time left on the penalty kill. It’s a shame the streak ended, but this goal made it all but impossible to come back.
Florida would add another goal with an empty-net goal by Aaron Ekblad, sealing the game 4-1 and sending the Oilers back to Edmonton down 2-0.

Things worth mentioning…

Charles Barkley, an NBA legend, was interviewed just before the start of the third period, accidentally dropping an “F bomb.” Well, there’s a more interesting quote from Sir. Chuck: “If a team’s embarrassing you, you gotta knock the hell out of them.” The Oilers should take this advice moving forward.
This isn’t a competition for the Lady Byng trophy, the two teams are competing for the Stanley Cup. If the Panthers are going to take runs at players, the Oilers have to do so too, it’s as simple as that. Obviously, not in a serious injury type of way, but the Oilers need to be much more physical moving forward.
Darnell Nurse suffered an injury early in the game and didn’t play the rest. He had 2 minutes and 18 seconds of ice time in the first, just 28 seconds in the second, and about 2 minutes and 24 seconds in the third. The Oilers missed him in this game because of how much flak he’s gotten this postseason. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious.
The Oilers’ long penalty kill streak came to an end, as Evan Rodrigues scored with just six seconds left before the Oilers went 5/5. The streak ended at 34 kills, which matched the longest record I could find, set by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2006 postseason.
The refs had a brutal game, but there was no worse screw-up than the missed delay of game penalty. At the start of an Oilers power play, Kevin Stenlund flipped the puck over the glass in his own zone, but the refs missed it. Had they gotten the correct call, the Oilers would have had a lengthy five-on-three.
Stuart Skinner finished with a save percentage of .893, saving 25 of 28 shots. The goals against weren’t great, he had a chance on them, but the Oilers were dominated until they pulled Skinner with just under six minutes left, and the netminder made some huge stops to keep it close.
Up next: It’s do or die at this point, as the series shifts to Edmonton for Game 3 on Thursday at 6:00 PM MT. The Oilers need to win this game, as it’s already hard enough they’re down two games, as teams that go down 2-0 lose 91% of the time. Going down 3-0 and reverse sweeping the team in the Stanley Cup Finals has been done once, back in 1942. Got to win these next two.

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