Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers: 2024 Stanley Cup Final Game 3 Preview


The Edmonton Oilers are set to make a valiant attempt to get back into the series as they return home to host the Florida Panthers on Thursday for Game 3 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.

Edmonton suffered a 4-1 loss in Game 2 on Monday and trails two games to none in its first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 2006. The Oilers, eager to turn the series around, face a Panthers team that has shown resilience and determination.

Key Players and Game 2 Highlights

Evan Rodrigues was the star of Game 2, scoring his first of two goals just 3:11 into the third period to break a tie and propel Florida within two wins of securing their first championship in franchise history.

The Panthers hope to have captain Aleksander Barkov in the lineup. Barkov's presence is questionable due to an apparent head injury sustained from a high hit by Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl in the third period of Game 2.

The model has set its sights on the Oilers versus Panthers matchup, locking in its NHL picks and Stanley Cup Final predictions.

NHL Odds and Trends

  • Oilers vs. Panthers money line: Edmonton -134, Florida +113
  • Oilers vs. Panthers over/under: 5.5 goals
  • Oilers vs. Panthers puck line: Edmonton -1.5 (+198)
  • EDM: The Oilers have been outscored 13-1 in the third period over their last nine games.
  • FLA: The Panthers are 5-2 when trailing after one period this postseason.

Why You Should Back the Oilers

Edmonton failed to capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities in the series opener but managed to grab a 1-0 lead in Game 2 on its first shot of the contest. Mattias Ekholm recorded the goal at 11:17 of the first period for the Oilers, who rank first in the postseason with 15 tallies from their defensemen.

Ekholm, a 34-year-old Swede, has been a surprising offensive contributor with five goals in the playoffs, replicating the form he showed by scoring in each of the first three games of Edmonton's second-round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Captain Connor McDavid continues to be a force, notching his 27th assist of the playoffs in Game 2. McDavid stands just four assists short of matching the all-time record for most assists in one postseason, set by the legendary Wayne Gretzky in 1998. Leading all players with 32 points in these playoffs, McDavid has been kept off the scoresheet in only five of Edmonton's 20 games.

He has registered a series-high nine shots on goal over the first two contests, including contributing half of the six shots recorded by Oilers forwards in Game 2. The Oilers' ability to leverage McDavid’s playmaking and shooting ability, combined with contributions from their blue line, will be crucial if they hope to stage a comeback in the series.

Why You Should Back the Panthers

Florida is receiving standout performances from Evan Rodrigues, who has beaten Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner on all three of his shots in the series. In his first season with the Panthers, the 30-year-old center is stepping up at the right time. Rodrigues had only three goals in 17 games over the first three rounds of the playoffs but has proven his mettle on the grand stage of the Stanley Cup Final.

Rodrigues’ multi-goal performance in Game 2 marked a historical first for the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final. Coming into the postseason with just four goals in 16 career playoff contests, his emergence is a positive sign for the team's championship aspirations.

The Panthers, who have a perfect 4-0 record in best-of-seven series when winning the first two games, are demonstrating their defensive prowess. They've allowed just six goals during their current five-game winning streak.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been stellar, turning aside all but one of Edmonton’s 51 shots in the Final and conceding fewer than three goals in 12 of his last 13 outings. Contributions from other key players, such as Sam Bennett, add to Florida's strength.

Bennett notched an assist on defenseman Aaron Ekblad’s empty-net goal in Game 2, extending his point streak to five games. The 27-year-old center has been a consistent performer with points in seven of his last eight contests and 10 of 14 overall this postseason.

Importance of Momentum

Both teams understand the importance of momentum. The Oilers are looking to harness their home-ice advantage to secure a win. Meanwhile, the Panthers aim to continue their mastery and get within striking distance of their first Stanley Cup title.