EDMONTON -- Who played well in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it’s easy to tell, sometimes it isn’t. graded the players in the series-extending 8-1 win by the Edmonton Oilers against the Florida Panthers at Rogers Place on Saturday. Here are the players that stood out the most.

Honor roll

Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers): After being a bit under the gun for a lack of production in the first three games, McDavid was feeling it Saturday. He finished with a goal, his first of the Final, and three assists.  He has 38 points (six goals, 32 assists) this postseason, passing Evgeni Malkin (36) for the most postseason points in a playoff season by an active player. His 32 assists are a record for the most in a single postseason, passing Wayne Gretzky’s 31 from the 1987-88 season.

Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers): Once the wheels fell off for the Panthers, the Oilers goalie didn’t have much to do, but he was sharp and necessary in the first period, stopping 13 of 14 shots, including a brilliant post-to-post save on Carter Verhaeghe on a 2-on-1. He finished with 32 saves.

Vladimir Tarasenko (Florida Panthers): There weren’t too many bright spots for the Panthers on a disastrous evening, but the Florida forward scored for the second straight game, chopping down a shot by Gustav Forsling and bouncing the puck past Skinner.

Mattias Janmark (Edmonton Oilers): The bottom-six forward set the tone, scoring a shorthanded goal at 3:11 of the first period to give the Oilers a lead they would not relinquish. With his second shorthanded goal, he is the first Oilers player to score multiple shorthanded goals in a postseason since Todd Marchant (3) in 1997. He was a plus-3.

Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers): Injured in Game 2, Nurse has been gutting it out for the past two games. He was rewarded for his perseverance when he scored Edmonton’s fifth goal of the game, a rising laser beam off a drop pass from McDavid. He played 20:03 and was a plus-3.

Stock watch

The crowd: ⬆️ Saturday Night Fever consumed the Oilers fans who roared through introductions and never stopped the celebration. In the second period, they chanted for a seventh goal. They mocked Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky mercilessly until he was pulled in the second period and continued the chants long after the switch. They made what could still be the last home game of the 2024 postseason a night that won’t soon be forgotten.

Shania Twain: ⬆️ The iconic Canadian musician did her part to set the tone for Game 4 at her free outdoor concert outside the arena. She started a “We want the Cup!” chant and played her hits. It was clear that the Florida Panthers didn’t impress her much throughout her set of worldwide hits. The anticipated show had fans lined up as early as 9 a.m. for a show that started seven hours later.

Sergei Bobrovsky: ⬇️ The Panthers goalie was pulled for the first time this postseason, 4:59 into the second period after allowing the Nurse goal. He stopped 11 of the 16 shots he faced. He had allowed only four goals in the first three games of the Final.

Adam Henrique: ⬆️ The Oilers forward scored the second goal of the game at 7:48 of the first period, redirecting a feed from Janmark past Bobrovsky after getting position on Anton Lundell. It was his first goal in the Final since scoring with the New Jersey Devils in 2012 in Game 6. He is the seventh player in Stanley Cup history to go 12 or more years between goals in Final.

Dylan Holloway: ⬆️ The forward had two goals and an assist, but it is the second goal that will be remembered, a Bobby Orr-esque flying leap after he redirected a pass by Florida’s Anthony Stolarz, who had replaced Bobrovsky.

SCF, Gm4: Panthers @ Oilers Recap

What we learned

Oilers are explosive

After struggling to score in the first three games, the Oilers are finding their swagger. They had two goals through the first seven periods of the series but have 10 in the past four. While some lesser lights have carried the weight, the big guns got on track Saturday. McDavid had his first goal of the Final and added three assists. Leon Draisaitl had two assists, his first two of the Final. Evan Bouchard had an assist, his second of the series, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got his first goal of the Final, a 5-on-3 score that was Edmonton’s first power-play goal of this series.  There should be some confidence heading into Game 5 on Tuesday in Sunrise.

Panthers need to get back to their identity

The Panthers have struggled at times in this series. The first period of Game 1 and the third period of Game 3 are examples. But they haven’t looked as bad as they did in the first 25 minutes of Game 4 and they paid dearly for it. Their defensemen pinched too aggressively, Oilers were lost in the neutral zone and Edmonton was able to enter the attacking zone with speed and drive the middle of the ice. Florida ceded the ground in front of its goaltender and lost the battles for 50-50 pucks. If the Panthers don’t address these issues quickly, a return to Rogers Place for a Game 6 is a possibility.

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