Florida Panthers v Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers will try to continue their comeback against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place with their home crowd behind them.

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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Gene Principe joins Tony Brar ahead of Game 6 of the Cup Final

PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Panthers (Game 6)

EDMONTON, AB – This is why Oil Country shows up like it does. This is why the players play the game.

We all do it for moments like tonight, and the last home game of the 2023-24 season for the Edmonton Oilers – the 106th game of the year and their 53rd at home – will be nothing short of legendary, with the right result having the potential to etch Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place on Friday into Edmonton folklore.

Embrace the opportunity. Live in the moment. We are so close, but there’s still work to be done.

It will take everyone to win another game to force a Game 7 back in Sunrise on Monday night.

“You spend your life working to get into a position like this,” Connor McDavid said after Thursday’s practice at the Downtown Community Arena in ICE District.

“You think that when you're here, there will be some magic feeling. I don't know. You just don't know what to expect, to be honest. It's all been pretty normal. This has always been part of the plan for our group to be in a position like this, playing big games at home in big moments, and it’s just another one tomorrow night.”

"We’re excited to be back in Edmonton, excited to play in front of our fans and to play in this building.”

The Oilers practiced on Thursday in the build-up to Game 6

After dragging the Panthers back to Edmonton for Game 6 with a 5-3 win three nights earlier in Game 5 at Amerant Bank Arena, the Oilers will be looking to stick to their details and harness the support they have behind them across Oil Country, Alberta, Canada and the world to win another game on Friday and send the Stanley Cup Final back to Sunrise for a deciding Game 7 on Monday.

The task of dispatching the Panthers for a third straight game with the Stanley Cup in the building will once again be no easy feat, but time and time again, Oilers fans have provided the extra motivation the players have needed.

Expect Friday to be no different when Oil Country hosts its biggest game in over 18 years – since Game 6 of the 2006 Final against the Hurricanes – but for a few newer generations of fans, it'll be the biggest game of their lives. The same goes for the players who'll be pulling on the Blue & Orange uniform to represent their city as they attempt to continue doing what's worked over the last two games to get us here.

“Well, our backs are against the wall. There's no easy way to put it,” said Corey Perry, who lifted the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks. “So you have to have the mindset we had into Games 4 & 5. It has to be the exact same way. 

“We have to come out, we have to get that jump early, and we've done that in the last couple of games and never looked back. But this game, you have to be ready to play each and every night. You never know what's going to happen, the ebbs and flows of a game, but we're excited to come home and play in front of our fans and we feel comfortable coming home and playing here.

“These fans are, they give us that extra boost.”

Corey & Mattias speak to the media after Oilers practice on Thursday

With the help of their fans, the Oilers are steadfast in their belief they can win on home ice on Friday as a team that's proven they can rise to the occasion with a 4-0 record in elimination games during the 2024 playoffs, recovering from 3-2 and 2-1 deficits in the Second and Third Rounds against Vancouver and Dallas before pushing this Stanley Cup Final to Game 6 after trailing 3-0 to the Panthers.

The Oilers began the regular season with a 2-9-1 record, but recovered with a continued trust in their process that's resulted in them assembling eight- and 16-game win streaks en route to win 49 games and then a further 14 in the playoffs to leave themselves two wins away from their ultimate goal.

It hasn't been an easy road, but it's been a rewarding one.

"I can't speak for Florida, but I know for our group, we've enjoyed this whole process," Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. "We've enjoyed that we've handled adversity all season, being 32nd in the NHL at one time, to facing elimination games and difficult times through the playoffs, but right now, any extra time that we get to spend together, any extra game that we had to play, we feel very fortunate.

"We feel very fortunate to be in this situation, but I know I've got a team full of guys who are hungry to make sure they get to play two more games and not just one."

Stuart & Connor speak to the media on Thursday from Rogers Place

At Thursday's practice at the Downtown Community Arena, the Oilers showcased some of that tight-knit camaraderie, along with an approach of trying to get better each day and taking it one game at a time before they step onto the ice at Rogers Place for Game 6 on Friday.

"We want to drag them back to their hometown in Florida, but it's about taking it one day at a time," goalie Stuart Skinner said. "We got a really good practice in today and we're just preparing to play these guys tomorrow. It's going to be a great task, and I think it's just kind of being in the moment and really enjoying playing these guys. They're such a hard-fought team, and it's always such a good battle every time we step on the ice with these guys, so it'll be a lot of fun."

Forward Evander Kane skated in a bottom-six navy blue jersey during Thursday's practice and could be a possibility for the Oilers on the fourth line as a player who could rejoin the lineup and have a major impact, having missed the last four games due to injury.

Kane's place on the fourth line could be set because of the effectiveness of Edmonton's third line of Mattias Janmark, Adam Henrique and Connor Brown, who've already played big roles in this series so far at even strength and on the penalty kill. 

While McDavid has been Edmonton's primary offensive driver in the series with 13 points in five games, the Oilers captain could only heap praise on the third line and speak about their importance to the team's comeback efforts, most notably on the penalty kill by making the Blue & Orange the first team in NHL history to open up back-to-back games in the Final with a shorthanded goal.

"They've been fantastic five on five and on the kill," McDavid said. "All three of those guys are big pieces of the kill, but five on five, they've been doing a great job going out there against whoever. Whether that's the Barkov line or any other line, they've been fantastic and that's a big part of it. Even the fourth line has been great as well. I mean,

"This time of year, to win, you need every single person. We've had guys out of the lineup come in and do a great job and the guys who are out of the lineup are staying ready when their time is called. So it's really been a total team effort to get us to this point."

Kris addresses the media on Thursday ahead of Game 6 vs. Florida

Defenceman Mattias Ekholm picked out the team's defending as the biggest evolution in the Oilers overall game this season that's allowed them to get to this point in the playoffs, including in Game 5 when the expected goals (xGF) leaned heavily in Florida's favour (2.68 vs. 0.76), as per Natural Stat Trick. The forwards are tracking back to give their defencemen quick outlets against the Panthers' heavy forecheck, and that's paying off in recent results.

"It's been lovely to see," Ekholm said. "I think we've got a lot of guys that are just fully committed to playing on both ends of the ice, which is, to say the least, it's an absolute need at this time of year. So I'm really proud of the group, and we've got to continue to bring that and even elevate our game."

The Swedish rearguard believes if there's any team that can put it together to get this to Game 7 and make history, it's this one, but it's take a clear mind and sticking to the game plan from everyone.

"All we can control is the next game," he said. "Whether we do it or not, I feel like we've done a good job with that and not staying too fragile and let things linger. In all seriousness, we've been pretty good with, 'Okay, that happened. Now we move on."