scfgm3 edm sider

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers believe they have played well enough to have earned at least one win through the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. Instead, they find themselves one loss from being swept by the Florida Panthers.

A three-goal second period proved to be Edmonton’s downfall in a 4-3 loss in Game 3 at Rogers Place on Thursday, and as a result, they will need to do what only one team has ever done if they want to win their first championship since 1990: come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the Final.

The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to have accomplished the feat, completing the comeback against the Detroit Red Wings.

“It is disappointing being down 3-0. We have to let that reality sink in,” Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner said. “I’m not too sure what the stats are coming back on it (1-27), but if anyone can do it, it’s the Oil.

“I think [belief] is something that we’ve created and kept for a while now. I think the way that we finished this game too also brings a strong belief, the way we battled back. If we play like that for 60 minutes, we’ll give ourselves a really good chance to win games, and I think that gives you a lot of belief. We’ve got nothing but hope in this room.”

That's not surprising considering the Oilers have had to overcome adversity all season just to get to this point. But if they are going to give themselves a chance to come back, they are going to need to avoid making costly errors.

On Thursday, Edmonton's first Final game at home since 2006, two mistakes in the second period gifted the Panthers a pair of goals which sucked the life out of a boisterous arena.

The first came from Vladimir Tarasenko and put Florida back in front 2-1 at 9:12. Skinner had gone behind his net to play a puck rimmed around the boards by Anton Lundell, but it skipped past his stick right to Eetu Luostarinen, who beat Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci to the puck and centered it out to Tarasenko before Skinner could get back in position.

Sam Bennett then pushed the lead to 3-1 at 13:57 following a turnover by Darnell Nurse at the side of the net.

“I’d have to look back to see what exactly happened (on the second goal), but I tried to play the puck and I’m not sure if it bounced over me. I’m not too sure exactly what happened,” Skinner said. “They got the puck, passed it out front, and I tried to get that one as well, and then tried to make the save and all of those three things did not work.

“Details. I think there are minutes in the game where they’re not as sharp and they can bite you. That’s the NHL in general. If you take a minute off, you get scored on.”

Prior to Tarasenko’s goal, Edmonton had been carrying the play, outshooting Florida 21-14 at the time. The Oilers ended up with a 35-23 advantage in shots, but despite closing the gap with two goals in the third period, they were unable tie it.

“We’re firing a lot of shots, we just can’t seem to put it over the goal line,” Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said. “We’re not sustaining enough pressure. It’s very frustrating that we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit today. We made some individual and collective mistakes that they immediately took advantage of.”

Although Draisaitl remains second in the NHL in scoring this postseason with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 21 games, he has yet to register a point in the Final. Zach Hyman, who leads the League in goals with 14, has been shut out as well. Connor McDavid has three assists, and Evan Bouchard has one.

Edmonton’s power play also has also gone cold. It is 0-for-10 in the Final, including 0-for-3 in Game 3.

“I thought we had lots of looks. I thought the game was right there and just a couple of mistakes and they find a way to score,” McDavid said. “I thought we did a good job of getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net. We can’t score on the outside on these guys, we have to get to the middle.”

Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch believes that eventually the puck will start bouncing in their favor, something it almost did in the third period.

Ryan McLeod had a chance to tie the game a little more than a minute after he cut it to 4-3 on a redirection at 14:43. McDavid got Sergei Bobrovsky out of position and centered a pass to McLeod, but he wasn't able to lift it over the goalie's outstretched left pad.

“There is frustration that we’re down, but there is a difference between frustration and quitting,” Knoblauch said. “There is absolutely no quit. There’s a belief that we can do this and we just need to keep pushing.”

Related Content