FORT LAUDERADLE – It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

That’s the mentality the Florida Panthers had while looking back at their 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday at Amerant Bank Arena.

“I think our third period was definitely our best, for sure,” captain Aleksander Barkov said during the team's media availability on Sunday at Baptist Health IcePlex. “I know it was 2-0 for us, but we still tried to play in our zone and kept building on that. It was good after the first two periods that we played a good third.”

After goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky helped the team weather an early onslaught by the Oilers in a 12-save first period, the Panthers gradually settled in and slowly heated up as the game went on.

While defending a 2-0 lead in the third period, they played their best hockey.

Over the final 20 minutes of action, the Panthers limited the Oilers to just seven shots on goal and eight scoring chances. While you’d expect a more-desperate attack late in a game of such importance, the Panthers did an excellent job of not letting Edmonton back in it.

After allowing 15 high-danger shot attempts in the first and second periods, the Panthers surrendered just three in the third, with Bobrovsky gobbling up any that reached his cage.

“It’s a good team,” said Oilers star forward Leon Draisaitl, who’s only shot in the third was blocked by Barkov. “They know how to play with a lead. They did a good job in the third.”

With a sellout crowd on its feet in the waning minutes of regulation, the Panthers shut the door completely after the Oilers pulled goaltender Stuart Skinner to gain the extra attacker.

Over the 2:17 of the ensuing 6-on-5 advantage for Edmonton, the Panthers gave up just one shot on goal while blocking two more. Immediately after one of those blocks, Eetu Luostarinen iced the game with an empty-net goal that made it 3-0 with just five seconds left.

One win down, three to go.

“I think we’ve been building our game,” Luostarinen said. “We came out a little slow in the first period, but we did a good job of just focusing on playing as five and playing hard.”

If you’ve been paying attention in these playoffs, finishing strong is nothing new for Florida.

Making a habit out of both being able to claw back from early deficits and hold on to leads late in games throughout their incredible run, the Panthers have outscored the opposition 25-11 in the third period.

By comparison, the Oilers have scored just 12 third-period goals while surrendering 20.

When asked about the team’s late-game success, Barkov doesn’t point to anything special.

It’s just all about effort.

“I think it’s confidence in our game,” Barkov said. “We want to build. We want to have good first and second periods as well, but we want to keep building every single period and be at our best at the end of the game. It’s all about hard work, keep grinding and believing.”

With a chance to take a 2-0 lead in the series, the Panthers will try to turn their stalwart finish into a hot start when they host the Oilers for Game 2 in Sunrise on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

For tickets, click HERE.

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