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Scenes from morning skate in Florida: Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup Finals
Photo credit:Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
1 month ago
After a long wait, game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs gets underway tonight in Sunrise, Florida. It’s been close to a week since both teams played giving them more than enough time to freshen up.

The Lineup

Head coach Kris Knoblauch confirmed that Warren Foegele will play tonight against the Florida Panthers. Foegele hasn’t played since game 4 against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final. His offensive game has struggled massively, with only one goal in the postseason, in Game 1 versus the Los Angeles Kings, after scoring 20 goals in the regular season.
“What he provides us a little more offence,” said Knoblauch in his press conference Friday. “He had 20 goals, 41 points, this season and also another guy who adds more speed to our team. Obviously, we took him out of the lineup, which wasn’t easy for us to do after the year he had, but it’s nice to have the opportunity to put him back in.”
Additionally, Knoblauch noted that Philip Broberg will stay in the lineup ahead of Vincent Descharnais. Since Broberg entered the lineup in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, the young Swedish defenceman has averaged 13:25 time of ice and scored a pivotal goal in Game 5 against the Stars. He’s played the majority of his minutes of the third pairing alongside Cody Ceci. However, the last couple of skates show evidence that could change tonight.
“Broberg will be in playing in the left and right [side],” said Knoblauch. “He’s fast, mobile, and covers a lot of iceHe’s very good at moving the puck out with his feet or a pass.”
“We’ve got difficult decisions to make,” continued Knoblauch. “Every player that we have has strengths that they can bring to our team and, just because we pick one player over another, it’s really fine.”
Forwards
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Zach Hyman
Evander Kane – Leon Draisaitl – Dylan Holloway
Warren Foegele – Ryan McLeod – Corey Perry
Mattias Janmark – Adam Henrique – Connor Brown
Defence
Mattias Ekholm – Evan Bouchard
Darnell Nurse – Cody Ceci
Philip Broberg – Brett Kulak
Goaltending
Stuart Skinner
Calvin Pickard

Sounds From The Players

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mattias Ekholm took to the podium following morning skates. These are two players who have had different experiences during their time with the organization.
Ekholm was acquired from the Nashville Predators ahead of the 2023 NHL trade deadline and has seen more success than not. On the other hand, Nugent-Hopkins has played through some struggling times since getting drafted first overall in 2011.
“I think most players go through tough times,” said Nugent-Hopkins on the teams’ journey to the Stanley Cup Final. “It’s rare for it all go well throughout your entire career. It went through that at the start and then we had some really good years where we really had a belief in the time. I think we’ve believed, especially in this core group, that we’ve had it in us to get to this point.”
While Nugent-Hopkins is one of many who haven’t played in a Stanley Cup Final, the Oilers have five players who have played for Lord Stanley before, including Ekholm. Ekholm went to the final in 2017 with the Nashville Predators but ultimately fell 4-2 in the series to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Corey Perry is the only player to have won a Stanley Cup game, which was in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks. Brett Kulak (Montreal Canadiens, 2021), Mattias Janmark (Dallas Stars, 2020), and Adam Henrique (New Jersey Devils, 2012) are the other three finalists on the roster.
“Im definitely not taking it for granted at this point in my career,” said Ekholm at getting another chance to win a Stanley Cup. “I am super happy and excited to be back. I wouldn’t say I have any regrets at the 2017 final but, at the same time, you’re trying to make everything out of this one because you never know if it’s your last one. I am trying to prepare as good as I can that at puck drop tonight and going forward that I’ll be at my best.”

The Opposition

Matthew Tkachuk and Niko Mikkola didn’t participate in the Florida Panthers’ morning skate, but head coach Paul Maurice confirmed there would be no lineup changes ahead of Game 1.
Assuming that is the case, you can expect the Panthers lineup to look like this:
Forwards
Carter Verhaeghe – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart
Matthew Tkachuk – Sam Bennett – Evan Rodrigues
Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Vladimir Tarasenko
Steven Lorentz – Kevin Stenlund – Kyle Okpsoo
Defence
Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad
Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour
Olivier Ekman-Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov
Goaltending
Sergei Bobrovsky
Anthony Stolarz

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