NHL

Stanley Cup Final: Oilers stave off elimination with commanding 8-1 win to force Game 5 vs. Panthers

Stanley Cup Final: Oilers stave off elimination with commanding 8-1 win to force Game 5 vs. Panthers

The Edmonton Oilers avoided a sweep and extended the Stanley Cup Final with a 8-1 win over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 on Saturday night at Rogers Place.

With the Stanley Cup in the building, the Oilers gave Cup handler Phil Pritchard reason to keep it in its case with a first period performance that set the tone for a commanding victory.

Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse escaped a serious penalty after his hit on Sam Bennett was downgraded from a kneeing major to a tripping minor following a review. Despite being down a man, the Edmonton crowd had something to be fired up about after Mattias Janmark's shorthanded goal 3:11 into the game.

The Oilers killed off the power play and minutes later earned their first multi-goal lead of the series thanks to Adam Henrique's deft stick-work.

The Panthers would scratch out a goal to cut the Oilers' lead to 2-1 after Vladimir Tarasenko's deflection with 8:34 to play in the first period. They got a golden opportunity to even the score less than a minute later, but Stuart Skinner, who stopped 32 out of 33 shots, would deny Carter Verhaeghe and end all hopes of a Florida comeback.

Verhaeghe's chance could have changed Game 4 for the Panthers, instead it inspired even more confidence into the Oilers. By early in the second period, Edmonton added to its lead thanks to goals from Nurse, Dylan Holloway and Connor McDavid, who netted his first of the series.

The white flag was basically raised by the Panthers at that point.

McDavid's goal not only gave the Oilers a 5-1 lead, it also ended the night for Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The hook from head coach Paul Maurice was a signal to his netminder to clear your head and be ready for Game 5.

The Oilers put five goals past Bobrovsky on 16 shots. Anthony Stolarz finished the game in net and allowed three goals.

McDavid's two helpers saw him pass Wayne Gretzky for the most assists (32) in a single postseason. The Oilers captain is also now the fourth player in NHL history with at least 37 points in a playoff run.

The eight Oilers goals were the most the Panthers have allowed in a regular season or playoff game since Game 5 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final when they lost the series to the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Oilers will have a chance to extend the Stanley Cup Final again on Tuesday night in Sunrise, Fla. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Everything that had been a struggle for the Oilers through the first three games of the series — stars not producing, power plays failing, not converting their high-danger chances at 5-on-5 — went Edmonton's way in Game 4. McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combined for a goal and six points; the power play finally scored; and they made the most out of their best goal-scoring opportunities to best Bobrovsky.

Oilers fans were chanting "We want [Game] 7" during the second period, but as head coach Kris Knoblauch and his players have and will continue to say as long as this series lasts, it's the old cliché of one game at a time. The next one will come Tuesday night at Amerant Bank Arena (8 p.m. ET; ABC), where the Panthers have won their last four games at home.

Game 1: Panthers 3, Oilers 0
Game 2: Panthers 4, Oilers 1
Game 3: Panthers 4, Oilers 3
Game 4: Oilers 8, Panthers 1
Game 5: Oilers at Panthers | Tuesday, June 18, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+)
*Game 6: Panthers at Oilers | Friday, June 21, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+)
*Game 7: Oilers at Panthers | Monday, June 24, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+)

(*if necessary)

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