June 23, 2024

Oilers vs. Panthers score, highlights: Florida takes Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final with shutout of Edmonton

The Florida Panthers have struck first in the Stanley Cup Final. With Sergei Bobrovsky’s spectacular goaltending on full display, the Panthers gritted out a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers to take a 1-0 series lead.

Bobrovsky notched his second shutout of the playoffs, and it was a masterpiece. The Florida netminder made 33 saves against one of the most dangerous forward groups in the NHL, and many of those saves came on high-danger scoring chances.

In the first period, Bobrovsky turned away Adam Henrique and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a breakaway. In the second, Bobrovsky put on a penalty-killing clinic by making one show-stopping save after the next.

Because of Bobrovsky’s excellence, the Panthers didn’t need to generate much offense, but they did capitalize on the few chances they got. In the first period, Aleksander Barkov caught the Oilers a step behind in transition, and he found Carter Verhaeghe for a goal off the rush. That tally was Verhaeghe’s 10th of the postseason, which leads the team.

In the second period, Sam Bennett conducted a forechecking masterclass by outmuscling Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci below the goal line. As soon as he got possession of the puck, Bennett slipped a slick pass to Evan Rodrigues, who fired a quick shot past Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner to double the lead.

That was more run support than Bobrovsky needed, and the Panthers went into lockdown mode in the third period. The Oilers weren’t able to create many quality chances in the final 20 minutes, and Florida held on for the win as Eetu Luostarinen buried an empty-net goal with four seconds left to really ice it away

The Oilers will aim to tie the series in Game 2 on Monday night, and they’ll have to hope that Bobrovsky looks somewhat mortal in that one.