Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers Game 3 | 06/13/2024

(Michael Laughlin / Associated Press)

That certainly wasn’t a polite Game 2.

I think every neutral fan should agree that officiating was questionable on both ends of the ice in Game 2, and I’m being nice when I word it that way. Leon Draisaitl throws a hit on Aleksandar Barkov that actually resulted in a cross-check to the face. Barkov still practiced with the team, he’s fine, but Draisaitl is lucky to’ve not gotten a suspension out of it. While that was going on, Evan Bouchard is getting a chokehold from Aaron Ekblad, and there was no call on that play. Warren Foegele received a 5 minute major and a game misconduct penalty for what looked to be a knee-on-knee hit to Eetu Luostarinen. Luostarinen was thankfully okay and back on the ice later in the game, as he laid on the ice for a bit after the contact and had players helping him walk to the Panthers locker room. I feel that the end result of the play was what led to that sort of penalty. Even with those 5 minutes, the Oilers still managed to kill it off. They did catch one break when Florida took a penalty in the middle of it to make it 4v4 Hockey. Mattias Ekholm took advantage and scored Edmonton’s first Stanley Cup Finals goal in 18 years.

The trouble for Edmonton is the same trouble Florida had in last year’s Cup Final. They’re too banged up at this point against a bigger and meaner team. Evander Kane is feeling the worst of bruises, I keep hearing that he can’t stay up or down on the bench. Darnell Nurse battled through something after taking a hit on Monday night. I’m not too worried about Nurse, though. Remember that he played three Rounds with a torn hip flexor two years ago. Still, if the bruises are too strong on some of these players, we might need to see even one change in the line-up to stir things up a little. Kris Knoblauch has proven multiple times he’s not afraid to make tough roster decisions. Say what you will about Cody Ceci(I have, too), it’s not always easy to sit out a player with over 800 games of NHL experience, regular season and postseason, as well as someone who the leadership group wanted to keep at the Trade Deadline. Fans are petitioning for Sam Gagner to be put in. Someone who started his NHL career in Edmonton back in the 2007/2008 season after being a 6th overall pick. How great a feeling would it be to see him in a Cup Final game as an Oiler?

Prior to the 3-1 goal in Game 2, the Oilers had killed off 34 consecutive powerplays. That streak had to end eventually, but it was fun while it lasted. The Oilers just have to keep allowing fewer PP goals like they have been all Playoffs long.

With the Oilers going down 2-0 in this series, can they come up with wins in Games 3 and 4 back at Rogers Place? Connor McDavid stated in his post-game presser, “I’m excited to see us fight through adversity and looking forward to people doubting us again.” That’s his version of a Playoff guarantee. He talked the talk, now he and the team need to walk the walk. The keys to the game are…

Just Shoot: Sergei Bobrovsky has been undeniably outstanding in this series and these Playoffs. The Oilers also need to be better at generating shots on goal. I get the sense that because they couldn’t solve Bobrovsky in Game 1, they started trying to be too fancy with plays as a way to beat him. Anytime an Oiler could’ve gotten a decent shot on goal, they elected to pass. When you have an opportunity, just take the shot. The initial shot doesn’t have to be a goal, maybe it forces a rebound or it’s a deflection. They hit posts in Game 2, I prefer that over not shooting at all.

More Responsible: Nurse and Ceci were the whipping boys after Game 1, and then the harsh takes turned over to Bouchard. Early in the third period of Game 2, tied, he tried clearing or passing the puck out of his zone. But it was picked off by Evan Rodrigues, and he made no mistake on his game-winning goal. If you don’t see an easy play to be made, don’t attempt it.

Home Sweet Home: Florida played their first two games at home, now it’s Edmonton’s turn. Expect that Hockey mad crowd to be amped up. Feed off their energy, they’re going to be loud and ecstatic to see their team play in a Cup Final home game.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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