EDMONTON – Just one more win to become part of NHL history.

Leading 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Florida Panthers can sweep their way to their first-ever Stanley Cup when they face the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 at Rogers Place on Saturday.

After 30 years of ups and downs, a chance at immortality is right there for the taking.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for all we’ve been through,” said Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, a former first-overall pick now in his 10th season with the team. “We have to go grab it.”

Arriving in Edmonton with a 2-0 series lead after taking care of business on home ice, the Panthers took the penultimate step toward their ultimate goal with a 4-3 win in Game 3.

Tied 1-1 in the second period, the Panthers pulled away with three goals within a span of less than seven minutes. After Vladimir Tarasenko beat Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner with a one-timer from the slot to make it 2-1, Sam Bennett lit the lamp to up the lead to 3-1.

Capping off the scoring spree that left the home crowd in an eerie silence, captain Aleksander Barkov finished off a give-and-go with Evan Rodrigues by sniping a shot past Skinner from the slot in stride to make it 4-1.

Not going down without a fight, Philip Broberg and Ryan McLeod each scored in the third period to cut Edmonton’s deficit to 4-3 late in regulation. Shutting the door from there, the Panthers didn’t allow a single shot on goal after the Oilers pulled Skinner for the 6-on-5 advantage.

Through the first three games of the series, Florida leads 11-4 in goals.

Despite that, the Oilers believe they’ve carried play for stretches.

“We don’t really focus on what they say,” Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe said. “They can say whatever they want. We just try and focus on what we have to do out there and take it one game at a time.”

A rock between the pipes, Sergei Bobrovsky shined once again in Game 3.

Turning aside 32 of 33 shots, the 35-year-old veteran’s biggest save came when he denied McLeod of a potential game-tying goal on a point-blank shot from the slot late in regulation.

Surrendering two or fewer goals in 15 of 20 games this postseason, Bobrovsky, who’s one of a handful of favorites for the Conn Smythe Trophy, boasts a .953 save percentage in the Final.

With the Cup on the line, having No. 72 in net is filling the Panthers with confidence.

“He’s been great for us all playoffs, all season and this series” said Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues, who’s scored three goals in the series. “We have the utmost confidence in him. We know we can play our game, play on our toes and if anything happens he bails us out back there.”

In front of Bobrovsky, the Panthers have also played exceptional defense.

The top-three scorers in this postseason – Connor McDavid (34 points), Leon Draisaitl (28 points) and Evan Bouchard (28 points) – have combined for just four points against Florida. Additionally, Zach Hyman, who leads the Oilers with 14 playoff goals, has zero goals and fired off just seven shots.

On the penalty kill, Florida has gone 10-for-10 against Edmonton’s vaunted power play.

Whether it’s good sticks from Barkov and Gustav Forsling, killed plays from Ekblad, or timely saves from Bobrovsky, the Panthers have simply been giving Edmonton’s offense fits.

“We know they’re going to come hard and desperate,” Panthers defenseman Niko Mikkola said. “We just need to match that, stay focused and skate hard. I think that’s the key.”

Going with what got them here, the Panthers won’t be making any lineup changes for Game 4.

As for the Oilers, information on their lineup won’t come until warmups.

With a chance to accomplish something so many folks outside of South Florida thought would never be possible, the Panthers plan to relish every moment of tonight’s contest.

Even though they’re taking it one game at time, they know this could be the game.

Rather than let excitement be a distraction, the Panthers are going to let it guide them.

They’ve earned this moment and don’t plan to let it go to waste.

“The feet are flying underneath this table,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said. “There hasn’t been a lot of days in here. We have to keep this in context. What is it, 11 o’clock in the morning? My brains going to shift pretty hard here in about four hours. It won’t be conversations and casualness by any means. I’ve been selling ‘enjoy your day’ here for two years and probably before that.

“I believe it. I’ve had enough of the other days that aren’t good that I’m going to enjoy the morning skate on a day like today. I refuse to not be in a good mood. The puck’s going to drop and everything changes. Your brain gets back wired into what you have to do. There’s no casualness tonight. But I should hopefully be fairly relaxed this morning. If you can’t enjoy this morning, what the hell are you doing?”


Goals: Verhaeghe (10)

Assists: Tkachuk (15)

Points: Barkov (21)

Hits: Bennett (73)

Blocks: Ekblad (41)


Goals: Hyman (14)

Assists: McDavid (29)

Points: McDavid (34)

Hits: Holloway (71)

Blocks: Nurse (50)


"We're excited. We're anxious. It's a great opportunity." – Aaron Ekblad

“We’ve done such a good job of having that simple one-game mindset. Win the first period. Win your first few shifts. That’s all you’ve got to do.” – Matthew Tkachuk

“It’s definitely in the back of your mind. In the same token you train yourself all year long so that when you get in this scenario you have the ability to fall back on your routines, to fall back on what you’ve done all year long.” – Evan Rodrigues

“Just try to narrow our focus in the games every shift. That’s about it. Just don’t think too much ahead.” – Niko Mikkola


- Over the past two playoffs, the Panthers are 6-2 in potential series-clinching games.

- The Panthers own a 7-2 record on the road this postseason.

- Sergei Bobrovsky owns a .935 save percentage over his last 10 starts.

- Aleksander Barkov leads Florida with four-game winning goals this postseason.

- Sam Bennett enters tonight’s matchup on a six-game point streak.



Evan Rodrigues – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Vladimir Tarasenko

Steven Lorentz – Kevin Stenlund – Kyle Okposo


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: Saturday, June 15 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

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