Stanley Cup

Oilers erase 3-0 Stanley Cup Final series deficit and force a Game 7 vs. Panthers

Edmonton won a third straight elimination game over Florida, taking Game 6 by a score of 5-1.

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The 2024 Stanley Cup Final was once a 3-0 series. Now, it's going to a Game 7.

The Edmonton Oilers won a third straight elimination game over the Florida Panthers on Friday to even up series at 3-3 and force a Game 7. The Oilers took Game 6 by a score of 5-1 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Connor McDavid and Co. are just the third team to ever force a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final after once trailing 3-0 in the series. And Edmonton is now one win away from becoming just the second team to overcome a 3-0 Cup Final series deficit.

There have been just four NHL clubs to ever overcome a 3-0 series deficit in the postseason.

“There was an unshakable belief,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. “No matter what happened throughout the year, we always believed we could pull through. No matter how dire the circumstances, we think we have a chance. It was a long season facing adversity which prepared us. The next one will be the hardest. It feels unbelievable to do it in front of this crowd. To have a chance to win now, this is our first opportunity to win.”

The Oilers opened Game 6 with three unanswered goals, carrying a 3-0 lead into the third period. Warren Foegele scored the contest's first goal seven minutes into the opening period.

Hyman and Adam Henrique then extended Edmonton's lead with second-period goals. Henrique scored on an odd-man rush while Hyman beat Sergei Bobrovsky on a breakaway.

The Panthers, meanwhile, had a goal taken away in the second period. Aleksander Barkov scored just seconds after Henrique, but the goal was called back for offsides after an Edmonton challenge.

The overturned goal left Panthers head coach Paul Maurice fuming.

“I actually didn’t think it was that close,” Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said. “In my mind, it was definitely offside.”

Barkov then actually scored one minute into the final period, but that would prove to be Florida's only goal.

Ryan McLeod and Darnell Nurse tallied empty-netters for Edmonton in the final minutes to seal the victory.

“They came out hungrier than us,” Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe said. "They wanted it and that was kind of it. We didn’t really get to our forecheck off the start and they took it to us, so I think it’s for us to get better and I think we need some better starts.”

Florida's struggles on the power play continued in Game 6. The Panthers went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and are now 1-for-19 in the series, with the lone goal coming back in Game 2.

Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner saved 20 of Florida's 21 shots on goal overall.

“You’ve suffered a defeat, you feel it, it hurts,” Maurice said. “You lick your wounds and we start building that back tomorrow. But who you are tonight means nothing to who you’re going to be two days from now.”

Game 7 of Oilers-Panthers is scheduled for Monday night. The Panthers, seeking their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, will have home-ice advantage at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

It will be the first Stanley Cup Final Game 7 since 2019 between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins. The Blues won Game 7 in Boston 4-1.

“We’re just excited to keep our season going,” McDavid said. “That’s what it’s been about. One game at a time, one day at a time. Looking forward to the next one.”

The Associated Press contriubted to this story.

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