SUNRISE, Fla. -- Who played well in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it’s easy to tell, sometimes it isn’t. graded the players in a series-clinching 2-1 win by the Florida Panthers against the Edmonton Oilers at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Here are the players that stood out the most.

Honor roll

Carter Verhaeghe (Florida Panthers): The forward was in one of the biggest funks of his career. After scoring in Game 1, Verhaeghe went five games without a goal and four without an assist and was minus-11 in his past four games. That all changed in Game 7. He scored the game-opening goal in the first period with a perfect tip and then was the key cog in a rush goal by linemate Sam Reinhart to make it 2-1 in the second period. Since 2021, Verhaeghe has scored 26 goals in the postseason and 14 have put the Panthers ahead.

Mattias Janmark (Edmonton Oilers): The third-line forward has been a menace. He had a short-handed goal in Game 4 and set up a goal in Game 6. He was plus-5 during Edmonton’s three-game winning streak to claw back in the series. It continued Monday when he scored Edmonton’s goal in the first period, on a stretch pass from defenseman Cody Ceci. His goal came 2:17 after Florida had taken a 1-0 lead.

Niko Mikkola (Florida Panthers): The second-pair defenseman was one of the most notable players on the ice, using his speed and aggressiveness to wreak havoc in the offensive zone and break up plays in the defensive zone. He played 17:25, had two shots and four shot attempts. He had three hits and two blocked shots, including a huge one in the third period while Florida nursed a 2-1 lead.

Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers): The goalie did everything he could to bring it home for the Oilers. He allowed two goals Monday and only seven after his team fell behind 3-0 in the series. He made 19 saves in Game 7.

Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers): Forget the numbers, not that they were bad. It was all about how Barkov’s game looked in the biggest game of his career. With last change, the Panthers wanted to get their captain against the Connor McDavid line whenever possible. And Barkov won what might have been the most important battle of the game. McDavid, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, had two shots and six attempts on Monday, but was rarely dangerous. After scoring eight points in Games 4 and 5, he was held without a point in each of the final two games. Leon Draisaitl spent the majority of the game on McDavid’s line and had no shots in Game 7 and three attempts.

Aleksander Barkov lifts the Stanley Cup after Game 7 win

Stock Watch

Alanis Morissette ⬆️: The Canadian rock star brought instant energy when she sang "O Canada" and "The Star-Spangled Banner." The large contingent of Oilers fans in the building started by helping Morissette in singing the Canadian anthem but drowned her out by the end. During the American anthem, the home fans answered, singing lustily and screaming out key words. It was a goosebump-inducing start to a historic game.

Oilers fans ⬆️: There was a lot of orange and blue in the arena bowl on Monday. Oilers fans traveled aggressively and infiltrated Amerant Bank Arena, giving their team a boost and making it feel at times like the Moss Pit had relocated to Florida. The Edmonton fans arrived early, they stayed late and they celebrated their team throughout, even after they come up short.

Sergei Bobrovsky ⬆️: There were all kinds of questions about Bobrovsky as he got strafed during the three losses. But he was rock solid in Game 7, reverting to the form that allowed Florida to dominate the first half of this series. He finished with 23 saves, including several big ones in the third when Edmonton dominated possession.

Paul Maurice ⬆️: The Florida coach never wavered in his belief in his team, in his goaltender, in his process. And now, he and his team are Stanley Cup champions, forever linked together and never destined to walk alone again. His wait for a career-defining championship is over.

Florida’s power play ⬇️: The Panthers were 1-for-19 on the power play entering Game 6. They went 0-for-2 in Game 7, although their opening goal came six seconds after the expiration of a penalty. That is historic level futility with the man advantage.

What we learned

The Oilers ran out of gas

The Oilers expended so much energy in making a historic rally in this series that they had little left with which to contest Game 7. Down a goal in the third period, they pushed as hard as they could but didn’t have what it took to break down the Panthers defense.

Panthers are the class of the NHL

After losing the Stanley Cup in painful fashion last season, the Panthers persevered and believed and now they too are champions, for the first time in their 30-year existence. There is no question that they are the best team in the League across the past two seasons. With 11 unrestricted free agents, the question of how long they will remain so is open for interpretation. But that is a conversation for another day. Today, they are Stanley Cup champions. That’s all that matters.

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