(1A) Panthers at (2P) Oilers

Stanley Cup Final, Game 3

8 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN+, ABC

Florida leads best-of-7 series 2-0

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers will try to slice their deficit in the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Florida Panthers in Game 3 at Rogers Place on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN+, ABC).

The Oilers lost 4-1 to the Panthers in Game 2 on Monday, and their normally high-powered offense has been held to one goal through two games. Edmonton didn’t generate much in Game 2, with 19 shots, and wants to put more pucks on net, as it did in a 3-0 loss in Game 1, when it had 32 shots against Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

“I think just the simplicity of our games, winning battles, playing faster, using our legs,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “If you take care of those little details, things just allow us to showcase our skill after. But if we’re not playing fast, we’re not winning battles, nothing else matters because that’s where the game starts. That’s usually where the game finishes. We have to make sure we’re ready to compete and skate.”

The Panthers are understandably feeling good heading into Thursday, knowing they’re two wins away from claiming the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history. But they know they can’t get ahead of themselves.

“It's going to be impossible not to be on your mind," Florida forward Kyle Okposo said. "But in saying that, when you go to the rink or when you're preparing for the game, you're preparing for one game and that's it. Your next game is always the most important one, so we're focusing on Game 3.

“Obviously, you can think about the bigger picture if you want, but once it's time to go, there's no thought of that. It's about your next shift. It's about the next period, the next game.”

Center Aleksander Barkov practiced Wednesday, skated Thursday and will play after being injured on a hit from Edmonton center Leon Draisaitl in the third period of Game 2.

This is the first Cup Final game in Canada that will have full fan attendance since 2011, when the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games. Rogers Place hosted the 2020 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars, but it was closed to fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams that have a 2-0 series lead in a best-of-7 Cup Final have an all-time record of 49-5 (.907).

Here are 3 keys for Game 3:

1. Matching desperation

This is a critical game for Edmonton, so the desperation will be there for the Oilers. Can the Panthers match that? Coach Paul Maurice said that shouldn’t be a problem.

“We’re in the Final, everybody’s really focused but where does that extra push come from?" he said. "It’s been six weeks, where do you get that extra jump? In this series, as we get closer to Game 7, there’s also the desire. You can feel it. It’s getting closer so all of this is about management.

“There’s a great frequency for both teams to operate in and they can use it. Cross that line, you want something too bad, you become too desperate, you’re not a good hockey team anymore. So it’s just about managing.”

2. Revving up the power play 

Edmonton is 0-for-7 on the man-advantage during the Cup Final after going 19-for-51 (37.3 percent) through the first three rounds. The Oilers know special teams, especially the power play, is a big reason why they’re here and they’d like to generate more in that area in Game 3.

“I still think that we've gotten some really good looks," Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "In Game 1 we had some good chances. The other night we hit two bars. You want to still make plays without just giving pucks back easily, but at the same time (we) probably can up our shot rate a little bit.

“We've got to stay confident in our power play, just like the rest of our 5-on-5 game.”

Myers, Van Diest, Zeisberger preview SCF Gm3

3. Keep depth scoring going

Florida has gotten production from the not-so-usual suspects, from forwards Evan Rodrigues (three goals, including two in Game 2) and Eetu Luostarinen (one goal in Game 1) to defenseman Niko Mikkola (one goal in Game 2). It’s been the difference thus far, and a trend the Panthers want to continue in Game 3.

“Whenever you get scoring from all different lines, different players, it’s huge," Florida forward Carter Verhaeghe said. "When you rely too heavily on a couple of guys, it’s sometimes tough. It takes a lot of pressure off the whole team.

"That’s how our team’s built, too. We have so many guys who can put the puck in the net and play good, definitely, and are really good players. That helps our team a lot, being so deep.”

Panthers projected lineup

Evan Rodrigues -- Aleksander Barkov -- Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe -- Sam Bennett -- Matthew Tkachuk 

Eetu Luostarinen -- Anton Lundell -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Steven Lorentz -- Kevin Stenlund -- Kyle Okposo

Gustav Forsling -- Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola -- Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Dmitry Kulikov

Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Ryan Lomberg, Nick Cousins, Tobias Bjornfot, Uvis Balinskis, Josh Mahura, Jonah Gadjovich

Injured: None

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Zach Hyman

Ryan McLeod -- Leon Draisaitl -- Dylan Holloway

Mattias Janmark Adam Henrique -- Connor Brown

Warren Foegele -- Corey Perry

Mattias Ekholm -- Evan Bouchard

Darnell Nurse -- Vincent Desharnais

Brett Kulak -- Philip Broberg

Cody Ceci

Stuart Skinner

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Derek Ryan, Sam Gagner, Sam Carrick

Injured: Evander Kane (sports hernia), Troy Stecher (ankle)

Status report

The Oilers are expected to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen for Game 3; neither Nurse (unspecified) nor Kane skated Thursday but it’s expected Nurse will play and Kane, a forward, will not. Knoblauch said, “You’re going to have to wait and find out” when asked if Nurse and Kane would play or if Perry would remain in the lineup. ... Tarasenko will play after missing practice Wednesday with what Maurice called a “minor thing.”