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Oilers return to Florida seeking to extend Stanley Cup Final again


EDMONTON — After scoring just four goals over the first three games of the Stanley Cup final, the Edmonton Oilers avoided elimination with widespread contributions they hope carry over into Tuesday's Game 5.

Mattias Janmark, Dylan Holloway, Adam Henrique and defenceman Darnell Nurse were among foot soldiers chipping in on Edmonton's 8-1 blowout of the Florida Panthers on Saturday to avoid a sweep and send the series back to Sunrise.

Edmonton's stars Connor McDavid, with a goal and three assists, and Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman with their first two-point games of the final series also fuelled the Oilers who seek a win on the road for the first time in the series.

Fifteen of Edmonton's 18 skaters registered at least one point Saturday.

Starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was chased from Florida's net for Anthony Stolarz after Edmonton scored five goals on 16 shots.

"We've won our share games when our top guys have come and been our best players, but we've won games where our depth guys have come up and contributed and scored a key goal, or we've relied on our goaltender," Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said Sunday morning before boarding a plane.

Superior special teams — a short-handed goal, a power-play goal and holding Florida scoreless on four power-play chances — plus a 32-save performance from goalie Stuart Skinner were other promising Game 4 elements Edmonton wants to take with them on the return trip to Florida.

"All we can control is how we play," Knoblauch said. "We can't control the calls the referee makes or how the goalie on the other side plays, or . . . what the opposition does.

"We're going to try and play our best hockey that we can. Hopefully that's enough to win us three more games."

After sitting out the third and fourth games of the series with a hernia, forward Evander Kane travelled with the team Sunday with the "possibility" that he'll play Tuesday, the head coach said.

Knoblauch expects a stout response Tuesday from a Florida Panthers team intent on closing the series out at home and avoiding a return to Edmonton for a Game 6 on Friday.

The Panthers were beaten four games to one by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 Stanley Cup final and want to inflict similar pain on Edmonton in 2024.

"They're going to be much prepared for Game 5 than they were in Game 4," Knoblauch said. "There's the distractions of winning the game, having a sweep, you have family and friends coming in for what they're hoping for, having celebrations.

"Going back home, now you have been beaten, they're going to respond, they're going to be better.

"We have a pretty good feel on what their team identity is and how they're going to play, but we can't control that. We're focused on enjoying this as much as we can."

- With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2024.