The Edmonton Oilers look to avoid elimination from the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place on Saturday in Game 4 against the Florida Panthers.

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Tony & Gene discuss takeaways from Friday's Oilers skate

PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Panthers (Game 4)

EDMONTON, AB – Time and time again this season, the Oilers have responded when their backs have been against the wall.

“There's just a belief in this room,” Zach Hyman said.

After finding themselves down 3-0 to the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final following their defeat in Game 3 on Thursday night at Rogers Place, the Oilers have been left with no other option than to come together as a group and play the type of game they know they’re capable of playing in Game 4 on Saturday to keep their championship aspirations intact.

Because it must be so.

“Starting tomorrow, there's no more room for error,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “I've said it multiple times, but when there's no room for error, we respond and we've done it the entire year. We've done it in these playoffs. We were down 3-2 to Vancouver… We probably played two of our better games of the year, so we're going to respond."

“Every one of these games we’ve felt like we’ve had a chance to win, so we're going to take it one game at a time,” Hyman added. “And if there's any team that can do this, it's this one.

“I strongly believe that there's something about this team. We don't give up.”

Oilers fans have been rocking the Rogers Place decibel meter

The Oilers aren’t looking past the next 60 minutes on Saturday night and will be focused solely on winning the next game when the puck drops on Game 4 to live to fight another day in the Stanley Cup Final, with the belief in the locker room being they’ve played well enough across the previous three games to earn better than what their current predicament suggests being one loss away from elimination.

Knowing where their team has come from this long and arduous campaign – starting the year 2-9-1 and stringing together a franchise-record 16-game win streak before erasing 3-2 and 2-1 deficits in the playoffs against Vancouver and Dallas – they've developed a sense of confidence within the dressing room knowing they can rise to the occasion when adversity presents itself.

Saturday will be the biggest test of this theory; for some players, it will be the biggest challenge of their careers.

"All that's on my mind right now is how we win a game tomorrow," Mattias Ekholm, who's been in this position before as a member of the 2017 Nashville Predators, said. "I can bring out all the clichés of 'It's one game at a time' and all that good stuff, but that's really what it is at this point."

"I feel like through three games, have we deserved to win a game? I think so. I think we've played two, at least pretty good games, but it hasn't happened for us," Ekholm continued. "Still, it's four games. That's all it is. We had [win streaks] of eight games and 16 games during the regular season. We won three straight against Dallas, so we can do it. It's a matter of just finding that first win and going from there."

Ryan & Mattias talk to the media on Friday following practice

The Oilers have found ways to generate offence in this series with a 54-41 advantage in scoring chances and a 21-18 lead in the high-danger variety, as per Natural Stat Trick, but Florida has buried its opportunities by scoring on four of those high-leverage chances while Edmonton hasn't converted.

So far in the series, Edmonton's top-five scorers (McDavid, Draisaitl, Bouchard, Nugent-Hopkins and Hyman) have yet to find the scoresheet.

"Just being able to put the puck in the net, and whether that's missed opportunities when you're shooting or the goalie's making big saves," Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. "The second game wasn't very good for us. In the first and third, we liked our game, and if you look at our series against LA, Vancouver and Dallas, we're getting more chances for than against in our favor so far in this series than we did in each of those. It's just being able to put the puck in the net, which is obviously a very big part of the game."

Additionally, netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has been locked in with 82 saves on 86 shots over the first three games, adding an extra layer for the Oilers to peel back behind a shot-suppressing approach from the Panthers focused on limiting chances and capitalizing on their offensive looks when they present themselves.

Zach talks about the mindset heading into Saturday's game

Edmonton has committed a few more errors than Florida so far in this series, and those have come back to bite the Oilers – most notably in the second period of Thursday's 4-3 defeat where the Panthers pounced on a few giveaways and misreads to score three goals in 6:19 and take a 4-1 lead.

"At this point of the year, it's just little things," Nugent-Hopkins said. "That can be the difference-maker in games, and they've found ways to do more of those little things that can push you over the top in all three games. I think Game 1 we played well and controlled most of the game. I thought the same thing last night, but at the end of the day, we're down 3-0. So like Ekky said, there's not a whole lot to say other than we're focusing on one at a time and we get tomorrow and then move on,"

Despite the situation, the Oilers still have plenty of optimism knowing the right result is within reach if they can reduce their mistakes and continue to pressure the Cats as they did in Games 1 & 3.

"We're disappointed that we're in this situation. It is what it is, but we've got a lot to be optimistic about," Knoblauch said. "We've gone on some quite astonishing rolls during the regular season. Obviously, it's a little more difficult now with playing in the playoffs against Florida in the Stanley Cup Final, but I'm optimistic about the way we've played so far in this series."

"I think what we talk about all the time is staying patient and trusting that we don't need to force anything," Nugent-Hopkins added. "And eventually, we'll find a way to break through. That's always our mindset. Of course there are going to be little things that happen here and there. It's 60 minutes of hockey, that always happens. But it's just finding ways to stick with it and just trust that we will break through at some point."