The Edmonton Oilers will face the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night at Amerant Bank Arena.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet & Hockey Night in Canada at 6:00 p.m. MT or listen live on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Subscribe to Oilers+ to unlock the Pre-Game Show that will begin 30 minutes before puck-drop, along with more exclusive live and behind-the-scenes content.

Game previews during the 2024 Oilers playoffs are presented by Pizza 73 🍕

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The Oilers held their final practice before the start of the Final

PREVIEW: Oilers at Panthers (Game 1)

SUNRISE, FL – The Stanley Cup is within reach.

One more series, four more victories, and a lifelong dream for the Edmonton Oilers and their players, coaches, training and management staffs – not to mention their ravenous fanbase in Oil Country – can be actualized for the Blue & Orange after taking the hard road through the regular season and the playoffs to arrive at this historic moment in the Stanley Cup Final ready to begin competing for their sixth championship in franchise history.

“The job's not done. It's exciting,” Zach Hyman said. “You're very close to your dream, but at the same time, you're far away. You have to win a series against a really good team.”

After defeating the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 18 years, the Oilers will face the Panthers for the chance to cement their legacy and carve their names into history beginning with Game 1 at Amerant Bank Arena on Saturday.

Zach catches up with the media on Friday afternoon in Florida

Florida will have their own aspirations of lifting the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history after coming this far in 2023 and falling short to the Vegas Golden Knights.

“We expected to be back here," Matthew Tkachuk said. "Obviously, nothing’s guaranteed, but we were expecting this, the way we’ve been working, the way we’ve been dialled in and details. ... We’re very proud to be here. We’re very happy, but the job’s not finished.”

The Panthers are the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 to go back to the Final after losing the previous year after dispatching the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and the Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers – the second playoffs in a row where the Panthers eliminated the League's best regular-season team en route to reaching the Final.

“Growing up, everyone dreams about winning the cup and that's something that we're all chasing,” Warren Foegele said. “With how good of players they are, they want to cement their legacy as well. They know to be one of the greats, winning is part of that.

“It's the hardest trophy to win in sports and it’s a great opportunity here.”

Warren talks during Stanley Cup Final Media Day on Friday

The Panthers are as worthy an opponent as they come with a heavy and physical approach towards forechecking down low and making it hard on opposition defenders – noted in their 3.1 forecheck chances and 10.2 cycle chances per game in the 2024 playoffs.

Florida is a proficient team in both generating and limiting shots, averaging 33.2 shots per game and 25.4 against over 17 games in these playoffs while having one of the best two-way forwards in the game in Aleksander Barkov in a top six that includes their playoff-leading scorer in former Flames' forward Mathew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe, who led the season series against Edmonton with three goals and two assists in two games.

Barkov is expected to go head-to-head in matchups against Connor McDavid on a top line with Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart.

Defenceman Gustav Forsling is Florida's counter to Mattias Ekholm as a player whose individual play is combining well with another – in his case Aaron Ekblad – to form a strong top pairing that will command the heavy assignments and time on ice against Connor McDavid and the top offensive talent of Edmonton.

In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky is as elite as opposition netminders come, with his 2.20 goals-against average this postseason being the lowest of the Vezina Trophy finalist's career.

The Panthers, however, lead the playoffs in penalty minutes (207) – a byproduct of their aggressive game focused on grinding down their opposition – and will need to make sure they're not feeding the Oilers' top power play in the playoffs (37.3 percent) too many opportunities to break things open in the series.

Edmonton's penalty kill didn't allow a goal against in the Western Conference Final against Dallas and has now killed off 28 straight opportunities.

Stuart chats with the media at Stanley Cup Final Media Day

Back in mid-November, the Oilers were languishing near the bottom of the League standings when they rolled into Florida and took a 5-3 defeat early in Kris Knoblauch's tenure as head coach, losing another for their third straight to fall to 5-12-1 on the season before their outlook on the year began to shift with a 5-0 shutout of the Washington Capitals that sparked an eight-game winning streak.

The Oilers lost three straight after that streak, including a 5-1 loss at Rogers Place to the Panthers before launching themselves on a path that would ultimately lead them to the Final starting with a franchise-record 16 straight victories, culminating in a 28-10-5 record in the regular season since their mid-December defeat to the Panthers.

These are not the same Oilers that the Panthers played earlier in the season, and the best proof of that has been in Edmonton's continued ability to keep the puck out of their net since Knoblauch took over, allowing 2.61 goals against per game during the 2024 playoffs.

"I think with the way our team played all year, going through what we had to go through, I think that's a massive reason why we are where we are," Stuart Skinner said. "Going through that, you really create a strong friendship, an incredible bond going through what we had to overcome. And we dug ourselves a really big hole. We've dug ourselves a big hole in playoffs at times, and we keep on crawling out. I think that just shows you the resiliency and the hard work of this team."

Skinner owns a 1.81 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in his last eight games since returning to the crease for Game 5 of the Second Round against Vancouver, helping overturn 3-2 and 2-1 series deficits to Vancouver and Dallas.

"I don't really feel too much pressure on that side of things," he said. "No matter how many people watch, the scenario, what you're playing for or whatever time of the year it is, our job is fairly simple. I know my job. It's simple just because I've been doing it for a long time, so I got to keep the puck out of the net and do my very best to do that. I think the pressure I take on is just being able to do my job at a very high level."

Leon speaks with the media Friday ahead of Game 1 vs. Florida

As the de-facto leaders of the Oilers, both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been just that offensively with a combined 59 points in 18 games in these playoffs. The Dynamic Duo has shared highs and lows over their careers, and capturing their first Stanley Cup together would cement their legacy as two of the greatest players to ever play the game.

"We were young kids coming in with the weight of the world on our shoulders it felt like, and everyone expected us to do everything," Draisaitl said. "We weren't ready to understand what it really takes to win. When you're 19, 20, 21 years old, that's just a fact, and sometimes it takes a little longer. I think over the last couple of years, we've improved in those scenarios and have got better while continuing to learn."

McDavid and Draisaitl, along with the Oilers as a whole, have come a long way since their first season together in 2015-16 by winning four MVP trophies (Hart Trophy) and six scoring titles (Art Ross), but having yet to lift a Cup.

After a few failed attempts at the playoffs dating back to their first shot in 2016-17 with a second-round exit to Anaheim, the two leaders for the Oilers have never had a better team around them and have watched the team around them evolve into a formidable force in all areas that can match the firepower of Florida head-on in a seven-game series to decide the Stanley Cup.

"Last year was very disappointing, and I think we took big steps in that department when it comes to defending and taking care of the moment and taking care of the clock and game management – those types of things," Draisaitl said. "We just continue to learn every year, and I think now we're at a point where it's really good.