EDMONTON – There is only one team whose season can end tonight.

It’s not the Florida Panthers

Despite their lead in the Stanley Cup Final going from 3-0 to 3-2, the Panthers are ready to take another shot at eliminating the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 at Rogers Place on Friday.

“I think pressure is a privilege,” Panthers forward Vladimir Tarasenko said. “It means you do something important. … You have to be able to manage it, doing that by sticking as close as possible together. Whatever happened, happened before. We’re here to play our best game.”

Trying to lock down Lord Stanley, a better start will be key for the Panthers in Game 6.

In each of their losses in Games 4 and 5, the Panthers fell behind 1-0 to the Oilers very early after surrendering a shorthanded goal within the first six minutes of the first period.

Yet to lead a game since taking a 3-0 lead in the series, the Panthers know they need to put some pressure on the Oilers, who haven’t had to think about their potential elimination yet.

In the series, the team that scores first is 4-1.

“It’s going to be loud and it’s going to be a lot of fun, a lot of energy,” Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling said. “We want to have a good start. … We’re up 3-2, but we want to take it one game a time. It starts with the first shift out there, just getting off to a good start.”

Throwing out Game 4, the Panthers liked a lot about how they looked in Game 5.

Despite coming up just short in a 5-3 loss, the Panthers dominated the 5-on-5 battle for much of the game against the Oilers, who did the majority of their damage when play wasn’t even, scoring two power-play goals, a shorthanded goal and an empty-net goal.

Leading the Oilers in expected goals at 5-on-5 in all three periods, the Panthers finished with lopsided advantages in shots on goal (25-14), shot attempts (54-21), scoring chances (24-10) and high-danger shot attempts (9-3) and, most importantly, goals scored (3-1).

Now, those are the Panthers we’re used to seeing.

“I think overall we played a really good game,” Forsling said. “We just didn’t get the results that we wanted, took a little too many penalties.”

The Panthers will be making one change to their lineup as Nick Cousins will get back into action for the first time since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Taking Kyle Okposo’s spot on the fourth line, Cousins will line up alongside Kevin Stenlund and Ryan Lomberg.

After watching from the sidelines for a bit, Cousins should have a lot of jump in his return.

“Those guys that have kind of come in and out of the lineup, you can just tell that it’s not easy for them,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said of rotating players. “But in their off-time, and being under less game intensity, they come back in and they’re jacked.”

For the Oilers, no lineup changes will be known until warmups.

That being said, all eyes will be on Connor McDavid as usual no matter what.

After being held to just three points during the first three games of the series, the three-time Hart Trophy winner has registered four points in each of the last two games for Edmonton.

In order to close out the Oilers, the Panthers know they must keep No. 97 in check.

“Every situation is always different out there,” Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “We’re just trying to learn from that and see what we can do different and better.”

Having already had two chances to end the series, the Panthers are also heading into Game 6 with maybe a little bit more clarity and focus than they had in Games 4 and 5.

Throwing out all of the surrounding storylines, this will be just a hockey game for them.

"The conversation prior to puck drop is strictly hockey,” Maurice said.


Goals: Verhaeghe (10)

Assists: Tkachuk (16)

Points: Tkachuk (22)

Hits: Bennett (82)

Blocks: Ekblad (45)


Goals: Hyman (15)

Assists: McDavid (34)

Points: McDavid (42)

Hits: Holloway (77)

Blocks: Nurse (60)


"I think [at] the beginning of the series this is definitely a place we would want to be.” – Matthew Tkachuk

"When you have nothing to lose there's a freedom to that, right? There's also a danger to that, right? There's a great line in one of those cheesy movies, the most dangerous man in the world is the guy whose got nothing to lose, that idea. Then when you have something to protect sometimes you feel the pressure to protect it." – Paul Maurice

"I mean, we're here to win a Cup. If we do it in five, six, seven, it doesn't really matter. We're here to win one game, just focus on that." – Kevin Stenlund

"It's just an unbelievable feeling to get this chance and be in this spot. Everybody's excited. This is what we work for our whole life, to be in this position." – Oliver Ekman-Larsson


- Aleksander Barkov leads all NHL skaters this postseason with 30 takeaways.

- Between the regular season and playoffs, the Panthers are 2-1 at Rogers Place.

- Matthew Tkachuk has recorded eight multi-point games this postseason.

- Sam Bennett has notched at least one point in seven of his last eight games.

- Evan Rodrigues leads the Panthers with four goals in the Stanley Cup Final.



Carter Verhaeghe – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

Evan Rodrigues – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Vladimir Tarasenko

Ryan Lomberg – Kevin Stenlund – Nick Cousins


Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov


Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz


- May 6: F Patrick Giles recalled from Charlotte (AHL)


When: Friday, June 21 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Rogers Place – Edmonton, AB

TV & Streaming: ABC, ESPN+

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 92.1 WZZR (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 101.7 WCZR (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Channel 219 / App & Streaming 932; Panthers App

Watch Party: Amerant Bank Arena

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