Skip to main content

SCOREBOARD

By The Numbers: Oilers, Panthers set to clash in Stanley Cup Final

Published

It all comes down to this as the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers are set to battle for the Stanley Cup.

The Oilers earned their spot in the Stanley Cup Final by taking out the Los Angeles Kings (five games), Vancouver Canucks (seven games) and the Dallas Stars (six games), who finished second in the entire NHL during the 2023-24 regular season.

The Panthers, meanwhile, took out the state rival Tampa Bay Lightning (five games), Boston Bruins (six games) and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers (six games) to capture the Eastern Conference crown for a second consecutive season.

Let’s take a closer look at this matchup ahead of Saturday's Game 1 in Sunrise, Fla. 


Head-to-Head in 2023-24

Panthers vs. Oilers

Florida defeated Edmonton in each of their two matchups this season, a 5-3 victory on home ice in November and a 5-1 win a month later on the road.

Here's a look at how the Oilers and Panthers compared in some of the NHL's major statistical categories during the regular season. 

Oilers vs. Panthers: 2023-24 Regular Season

Oilers Stat Panthers
49-27-6 (104 points) Record  52-24-6 (110 points)
 3.56 (4th in NHL)   Goals For Per Game  3.23 (11th in NHL)
 2.88 (10th)  Goals Against Per Game 2.42 (Tied for 1st) 
 26.3% (4th)   Power Play % 23.5% (8th) 
 79.5% (15th) Penalty Kill %  82.5% (6th) 
2,768 (1st) Shots 2,763 (2nd)
2,307 (5th)  Shots Against  2,279 (3rd) 

The Oilers' strength all season and in the playoffs has been their proficient offence and power play led by superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

In the postseason, the top four point accumulators have all been members of the Oilers, highlighted by McDavid who has recorded a league-leading 31 points with five goals and 26 assists over 18 games. 

Oilers forward Zach Hyman leads the NHL with 14 goals, including five on the power play. Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk leads his team with 19 points. 

The man advantage has been key to Edmonton's deep run, scoring 37.3 per cent of the time which is 14 per cent higher than their opponent in the Panthers. 

ContentId(1.2130019): 7-Eleven That's Hockey: Biron on outrageous takes from Miami media member

However, if anybody has the kryptonite to control the Oilers' high-power offence, it's Vezina Trophy nominee Sergei Bobrovsky and the Panthers. 

During the regular season, the Panthers allowed 2.42 goals against per game, tied for first in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets

It's been much of the same in the playoffs as the veteran Bobrovsky owns a 2.20 goals-against average over 17 games, compared to Stuart Skinner's 2.62 GAA. 

The Panthers also have the second-best postseason penalty kill at 88.2 per cent (behind the Oilers), so the special teams battle should go a long way in deciding this year's Stanley Cup Final. 


Coaching Battle

Paul Maurice Florida Panthers

On paper, Paul Maurice has the edge when it comes to the coaching battle against Oilers rookie bench boss Kris Knoblauch, based on his experience alone. 

The 57-year-old Maurice has coached 1,848 regular season games over 27 seasons in the NHL, dating back to the Hartford Whalers in 1995. Maurice also owns a 54-59 postseason record and will look to win his first Stanley Cup in his third appearance this month. 

Knoblauch, 45, posted a 46-18-5 record over the final 69 games of the season after taking over for Jay Woodcroft in mid-November following Edmonton's disastrous start. 

ContentId(1.2129999): Oilers ready for any physicality that Panthers will bring to Stanley Cup Final

Only 13 rookie head coaches have won the Stanley Cup in NHL history and only two have done it as a mid-season replacement. Al MacNeil led the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup in 1971 while Dan Bylsma accomplished the feat in 2009 after taking over the Pittsburgh Penguins with just 25 games remaining in the regular season. 

Will Knoblauch find a way or is it finally time for Maurice to raise Lord Stanley? 


Stanley Cup History

Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers

Even though the idea of the Oilers being considered as “Canada’s team” is somewhat fabricated, Edmonton can still make history with a win over the Panthers.

A Canadian team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1993, when Patrick Roy and his Montreal Canadiens raised Lord Stanley after defeating the Wayne Gretzky led Los Angeles Kings.

Six Canadian teams have made the Stanley Cup Final in the 29 seasons since ’93, all resulting in losses, including four in game sevens.

1994 – Vancouver Canucks lost to the New York Rangers (seven games)
2004 – Calgary Flames lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning (seven games)
2006 – Oilers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes (seven games)
2007 – Ottawa Senators lost to the Anaheim Ducks (five games)
2011 – Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins (seven games)
2021 – Montreal Canadiens lost to Lightning (five games)

Edmonton’s 2006 run was their seventh appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. They will look to win a sixth Cup in franchise history this year, which would tie the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for fourth all-time.

The Panthers will make a third appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, most recently losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games last year. They also were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.

When it comes to specific players, this will be Corey Perry’s fourth appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in the past five seasons. For his career, the Oilers veteran forward has now made the final series with a record five different teams.

In just his second year in the NHL, Perry helped the Ducks capture their first Stanley Cup in 2007. Perry has lost in every Stanley Cup Final since, including in 2020 with the Stars, 2021 with the Canadiens and 2022 with the Lightning.