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Stanley Cup Final: Edmonton Oilers beat Florida Panthers 8-1 in Game 4

Stanley Cup Final: Edmonton Oilers beat Florida Panthers 8-1 in Game 4
Stanley Cup Final: Edmonton Oilers beat Florida Panthers 8-1 in Game 4

 


EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Connor McDavid scored, La Bamba played in the Edmonton Oilers locker room and the Stanley Cup final returns to Florida after a statement victory.

McDavid scored his first goal of the series as part of a four-point performance, Stuart Skinner was spectacular with 32 saves and the Oilers defeated the Florida Panthers 8-1 in Game 4 on Saturday night. after Sergei Bobrovsky and avoiding a sweep. Game 5 is Tuesday in Sunrise.

It's just one win, McDavid said. That's all it is, whether you score eight or one. It's just one win. We have to go to Florida, do a job and tow them back to Alberta.

The Panthers squad will have to wait after a complete collapse of a team with many players who have never been this close to hoisting the Cup. Bobrovsky was part of that, pulled five minutes into the second period after allowing five more goals on 16 shots than he gave up in the first three games of the series combined.

It had nothing to do with Bob, Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk said. It was more of a wake-up call for everyone. We know he will come back better than ever.

Whether it was a last-ditch effort in front of a pumped-up home crowd hoping to see the start of a historic comeback, or the breakthrough that coach Kris Knoblauch predicted, Skinner's Oilers were dominant in every facet of a game in net out. they had to win to keep the NHL season going.

It started when Mattias Janmark scored 3:11 into a 2-on-1 rush with Connor Brown. Janmark put Edmonton ahead by two goals less than five minutes later, giving Adam Henrique his second career goal in the Cup final, 12 years after the game-winner for New Jersey that also prevented a sweep in the final.

The odds remain high for the Oilers, as the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to erase a 3-0 deficit at this stage of the playoffs and a total of only four teams have ever done so.

Obviously that was a huge win, but we still know what the conditions are like, said Dylan Holloway, who scored two goals after not scoring since the second round. We were still 3-1 down. The most important thing for us is to just forget about that and use it, put it in some kind of bottle, notice that it can be done, but just move on.

But the belief will certainly be palpable after they break out offensively and build a lead instead of holding it, a quality they had in spades over the first three rounds to win the Western Conference. Florida cutting the deficit to one midway through the first period on Vladimir Tarasenko's goal didn't make Edmonton fold, with Skinner making the most important save of the night on Carter Verhaeghe on a 2-on-1 chance and Holloway answering before the break.

He was great, McDavid said of Skinner. You talk about goaltending and needing timely saves. He made some very timely saves. That was as big a save as you can get.

The foul just kept coming. McDavid, the reigning and three-time NHL MVP, beat Bobrovsky early in the second and minutes later Darnell set up Nurse for the defenseman's first goal of the playoffs. That sent the goalkeeper, known as Bob, to the bench amid mocking chants from Sergei! Sergei! when Anthony Stolarz came in for his postseason debut.

The Panthers, hours after family members arrived for a possible party more than 2,500 miles from home, took out their frustrations in a handful of scrums after the whistle. One of them gave the Oilers power play more shooting practice, and the unit that came into the final looking almost automatic, going 0 for 12, made them pay, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring on the 5-on-3 benefit.

“I don't count 5 out of 3,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said.

With three assists, McDavid now has 32 assists in this streak, breaking Wayne Gretzky's 1988 record for most in a single postseason. He had more points Saturday night than the first three games of the series combined, and he was the Oilers' leading scorer while other top players were quiet.

He continues to impress everyone, Knoblauch said. It was a great performance.

At even strength and on the power play, another adjustment by Knoblauch paid off as the playoffs continued from Edmonton's rookie coach pushing all the right buttons. He moved Nugent-Hopkins down to play with Leon Draisaitl, and each of the first two lines scored a big goal.

The outburst and a commanding lead got fans going with everything from We want seven! to a sing-along of Bon Jovis Its My Life. They got it when Holloway scored with under six minutes left, and some extra when Ryan McLeod added the exclamation point with the eighth goal with 3:19 on the clock.

Skinner also heard STUUUU! plenty as he had his best game of the finals, denying the Panthers a number of high-quality scoring opportunities as they tried to get back into it.

The confidence in the ability to extend the series, evident in the home locker room, extended around downtown Edmonton. A new sign reading BELIEVE was added to a window around the corner of Rogers Place on Saturday.

Inside, a fan held up a sign that read: “So you're saying there's a chance?” And now the Oilers have another chance to put pressure on the Panthers as the series returns to South Florida.

___

AP NHL Playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup And https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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