Why EDM eliminated

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Edmonton Oilers made it to the last game of the NHL season but fell short and were eliminated in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final by the Florida Panthers on Monday.

Edmonton, which trailed the best-of-7 series 3-0 and battled back, lost 2-1 in the decisive game. The Oilers were trying to become the second team to win the Stanley Cup after overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the Final, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who did so against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Oilers have been eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion the past three seasons. They lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round last season, and the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final in 2022.

Edmonton (49-27-6) finished second in the Pacific Division and had a remarkable turnaround after starting the season 2-9-1, firing coach Jay Woodcroft and replacing him with Kris Knoblauch on Nov. 13.

The Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the first round, the Vancouver Canucks in seven games in the second round and the Dallas Stars in six games in the Western Conference Final before losing to Florida in the Cup Final.

The skinny

Potential unrestricted free agents: Connor Brown, F; Sam Carrick, F; Warren Foegele, F; Sam Gagner, F; Adam Henrique, F; Mattias Janmark, F; Corey Perry, F, Vincent Desharnais, D; Troy Stecher, D; Calvin Pickard, G

Potential restricted free agents: Dylan Holloway, F; Philip Broberg , D

Potential 2024 Draft picks: 6

Here are five reasons the Oilers were eliminated:

1. Slow start

Edmonton lost the first three games of the Final despite outshooting Florida in two of those games. The Oilers outshot the Panthers 32-18 in Game 1, but lost 3-0. They were unable to solve goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 25 saves over the first two periods. Edmonton lost 4-1 in Game 2 and fell behind 2-0 in the series. In Game 3, the Oilers again outshot the Panthers, 35-23, but a 6:19 spell in the second period was their undoing, giving up three goals in a 4-3 loss. The 3-0 series hole proved too deep for Edmonton to climb out of, although they did win the next three games to extend the series to Game 7. The Oilers were unable to defeat the Panthers four times in a row and went on to lose the Stanley Cup by a goal.

2. Power-play struggles

Edmonton had one of the top-five power plays in the NHL during the regular season connecting at 26.3 percent, but it took too long to get going in the Final. The Oilers were 0-for-10 through the first three games and finished 3-for-24 in the series. Had the power play been able to connect closer to the rate of the regular season, it could have made the difference in the series. Edmonton only got one power play in Game 7 and had chances to convert, particularly after a shot from Evan Bouchard broke the stick of defenseman Gustav Forsling. Forward Kevin Stenlund gave Forsling his stick and had to play over a minute of the power play without one but Edmonton was unable to take advantage. The Oilers did not have another power play in the game.

EDM@FLA SCF, Gm7: Bobrovsky shuts the door in 3rd

3. Draisaitl went cold

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored 41 goals in 81 games in the regular season and had 10 goals in the playoffs but was unable to score in his final nine games. He was limited to three assists in the Final and was unable to beat Bobrovsky despite a number of good looks. Draisaitl fanned on a one-timer attempt in Game 7 on a setup from McDavid, a rare occurrence for the forward. Draisaitl’s production dropped considerably throughout the playoffs. He had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in five games against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in seven games against the Vancouver Canucks in the second round and four points (two goals, two assists) in six games against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final.

4. McDavid shut out in final two games

Connor McDavid had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the Final against the Panthers, but did not have a point in Game 6 or 7. Edmonton was able to overcome McDavid not having a point or a shot on goal in a 5-1 win in Game 6, but needed its captain to get on the scoreboard in Game 7. McDavid had his chances but was unable to convert and spent most of the game trying to shake Aleksander Barkov, who followed him around the ice. McDavid failed to convert a rebound in front into an empty net and sent a redirection attempt high in the third period, each of which would have tied the game.

5. Too generous

Edmonton had a bad tendency of gifting goals to the opposition throughout the playoffs and its generosity eventually caught up to them. The Oilers were dictating play in Game 3 of the series, tied 1-1, but a mistake playing the puck behind the net by goalie Stuart Skinner opened the door for forward Vladimir Tarasenko to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Sam Bennett extended the lead to 3-1 and Barkov made it 4-1 to take control of the game. The Oilers scored two goals in the third period to make it close, but could not overcome the mistake by Skinner, which was compounded with defensemen Cody Ceci getting beat the puck behind the net and Darnell Nurse allowing the pass to get to Tarasenko in front. Mistakes also cost Edmonton in Game 2. With the game tied 1-1 in the third, Bouchard handed the puck to Evan Rodrigues in front and he snapped a shot past Skinner to give Florida a 2-1 on the way to a 4-1 win.

Related Content