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Oilers vs Panthers Stanley Cup Finals Game 6

June 21, 2024, 3:31 PM ET [66 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tonight the Edmonton Oilers have a chance to do what very few teams in NHL have ever done; force a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals after being down 0-3. As I have said in the blogs for Game 4 and 5, every player on the Edmonton Oilers needs to show up and play their best game to keep this party going.

Connor McDavid once again has elevated his game and right now the Panthers have no answer for him. You can bet Paul Maurice is going to shuffle some things up and a big part of the Panthers game tonight will be finding ways to shut #97 down. Expect to see at least two players on Connor at all times tonight.

The key for an Oilers victory may very well be the Draisaitl-RNH-Holloway line which desperately needs some production at 5 on 5. We know Draisaitl is dealing with some rough injuries right now and doing everything he can to fight through it. Holloway has had some good looks in the past couple games. The big player on this line who needs to step up and find a way to produce is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. A strong performance from the longest tenured Oiler could be the key to forcing a Game 7.

In terms of 5 on 5 play. It has been a very close series. Right now the Panthers have 11 goals to the Oilers 10. On special teams Edmonton has 2 PP goals to the Panthers 1. The wild stat is the Oilers 2 shorthanded goals as well.

You need to be a dominant 5 on 5 team to come out ahead in games and Edmonton has done that for the most part. They were tied for 2nd in 5 on 5 goals (12) after round 1. The Oilers scored the most 5 on 5 goals (16) in the second round and they scored the 2nd most 5 on 5 goals in Round 3 (11). Dallas scored the most in Round 3 with 12.

The Oilers are an excellent team at producing at 5 on 5 and they also have dominant special teams. When the games are this close, special teams are the difference maker. It's rare to see a team move on in the Stanley Cup Finals that lost the special teams battle.

The powerplay has not fully clicked for Edmonton yet this series and one wonders how long that can be kept at bay. The same could go for the Panthers PP that has a number of dangerous weapons to choose from but has not only been shut down, but scored on twice. I don't expect to see that again tonight.

At the end of this game we may be talking about how the game was decided in the first 10 minutes. The Edmonton Oilers have won two in a row and should come out like they were fired from a cannon in front of a roaring home crowd. The Panthers meanwhile I'm sure were given a stern talking to by their own coach and will be looking to refocus and play a far stronger game than they started in Game 4 or Game 5. Both goalies will need to be focused and playing at the top of their game.

A Stuart Skinner stat has been going around the interwebs over the past few days. Skinner through the playoffs is 9-0 in Games 4-7 in the post-season with a 1.56 GAA and a 0.938SV%. As series have gone one, Skinner has only gotten more and more dialed in. There have been rough games for sure, but win or lose tonight the Oilers certainly have their starter for the future.

No specifics on the lineup for tonight. We expect the same lineup from Games 4 and 5 but there is a chance that Evander Kane may slot back in. I wouldn't break up any of the top three lines but perhaps we see Derek Ryan come out for Kane if the power forward is good to go.

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The atmosphere is going to be electric in Rogers Place and throughout Edmonton tonight. This is the biggest game in the city in the past two decades. This series has certainly delivered on all accounts and hopefully tomorrow we are still talking about the ongoing ride and what Game 7 might bring.

Thanks for reading.
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