Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be keeping his own blog throughout the 2024 Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers. He will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

In his seventh entry, Nugent-Hopkins discusses the Oilers’ 5-3 win in Game 5, the play of teammate Connor McDavid and what the atmosphere will be like in Edmonton for Game 6 on Friday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC) despite being down 3-2 in the best-of-7 series.

We were excited coming into the game. Obviously, you just have to win a game at a time and that’s our focus. It’s the Final here. It’s a ton of fun to go and play. I thought we had a great start. Stuart Skinner made some big saves and got the job done.

Knowing that the fans are ready to celebrate a Cup I think gives us an extra boost, knowing that if we lose that game, they’re going to raise that thing. We wanted to do everything in our power to stop that. The boys did a great job. We just battled from minute one to minute 60.

Connor McDavid’s play on the Corey Perry goal was a special play, especially in a huge moment. He showed us the way tonight -- the way he was playing, the way he was winning battles and his determination to not be denied -- and we followed him.

We definitely believe in each other. We believe in this group. We believed all year to get us to this point. Everybody works for each other. You don’t want to let each other down, and that’s what makes it a strong group. And we have that. Our focus is one game at a time and obviously we can shift our focus to Friday.

As for dragging everybody back to Alberta being a rallying cry, obviously it’s a long way between cities, so we’re pretty used to the travel. I’m sure everybody who’s not playing, going back and forth, it’s tough on them, like the media, but we want to get back in front of our fans and play for them. So it’s going to be an insane atmosphere.

I’m sure tonight, the viewing party in Edmonton was bonkers, too. So Friday is going to be a ton of fun, but our focus is going to be the start, and we’ll go from there. I think we can use that energy in the building to get our legs going early. You can’t get too emotional, too high. You just got to stick with it. But I think you can use the energy and just play fast and play physical and control the momentum from there.

I’m sure we’ll be pretty late getting back home tomorrow, 4 or 5 in the afternoon or something, and then a few hours with my daughter and she’ll be off to bed. It will be nice to get home and have a couple of minutes.

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