Bobrovsky with Cup

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Sergei Bobrovsky was the first Florida Panthers player to receive the Stanley Cup from captain Aleksander Barkov after they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday.

It’s the first Stanley Cup championship for the Panthers, who lost in the Final to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games last season.

After NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman handed the Cup to Barkov, the Panthers captain gave it to Bobrovsky, who is the first goalie to be handed the Cup from a captain. Dominik Hasek was the first player to get the Cup in 2002, but he had to wait until Scotty Bowman took his lap with it.

"He deserved it," Barkov said. "I think he's been in the League for a long time (14 seasons). I think he deserves it. … He's been unbelievable for us every single night this whole year. He's a big reason why we won."

The Panthers earn their first Stanley Cup in franchise history

Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year contract with Florida on July 1, 2019, is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goaltender this season after he went 36-17-4 with a 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and six shutouts in 58 starts in the regular season. He followed that up by going 16-8 with a 2.32 GAA, .906 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 postseason starts.

“It’s a special moment,” Bobrovsky said. “It’s the moment of a dream come true and so happy.”

After Bobrovsky took his turn with the Cup, he gave it to Kyle Okposo, who was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on March 8. The 36-year-old forward, who returned to the lineup after he was scratched in Game 6, was playing in the playoffs this season for the first time since 2016 with the New York Islanders.

“It’s great. I didn’t need it third or anything, but for them to recognize me and how long I’ve been around is pretty special," Okposo said. "I tried to add something to the group and I hope that I did that. I think I did. Just a really special group of guys and they were able to recognize kind of the career that I had. It’s pretty cool.”

After Okposo, the handoff list went as follows: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Dmitry Kulikov, Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brandon Montour, Carter Verhaeghe, Nick Cousins, Gustav Forsling, Niko Mikkola, Eetu Luostarinen, Ryan Lomberg, Anton Lundell, Evan Rodrigues, Kevin Stenlund, Anthony Stolarz, Steven Lorentz, Josh Mahura, Jonah Gadjovich, Uvis Balinskis, Tobias Bjornfot, Spencer Knight and Paul Maurice.

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