Bobrovsky slams the door against Oilers, Panthers take 1-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers took a 1-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night after their 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Carter Verhaeghe’s opening goal 3:59 into the game ended up being the game winner. This was Verhaeghe’s 25th career playoff goal and his 10th playoff winner. 


“He’s an unusual performer that man,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said of Verhaeghe. “He is so good in the most intense and almost chaotic play… that guy’s a gamer.”


Evan Rodrigues doubled the Panthers lead early in the second period — scoring in his first career Stanley Cup Final game.

Eetu Luostarinen, who missed last year’s final with an injury, sealed the 3-0 with an empty netter. 


While Florida dominated the scoreboard, that wasn’t the case in the game.

The Oilers pushed the Panthers more than most teams have in these playoffs — finishing the game with a 32-18 shot advantage and 70-42 shot attempts, per Natural Stat Trick. 


Everything the Oilers had was thrown towards the Panthers’ goal — but what it found was the brick wall of Sergei Bobrovsky. 


The Panthers netminder stopped all 32 shots he faced — 13 of those being high danger chances — for hiss third career postseason shutout.


“I think that’s the game that most goaltenders are used to — the higher volume, more consistency,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said of Bobrovsky facing a higher than usual workload. “But that’s truly the advantage for us in having a guy that’s seen it all at this point in his career.”


32 shots against was tied for the most Bobrovsky has seen all postseason (happened three times). Entering Game 1, the Panthera allowed an average of 24 shots per game. 


“He’s had quiet times, he’s had very very busy nights,” Maurice added. “He’s clearly capable of operating at a high level in both.”


Florida didn’t have many chances, but they made the few count. They got two pucks past Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner on their first five shots and were able to suppress a third period push from Edmonton, giving up just seven shots in the final frame. 


They take a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history and will have a chance to go up 2-0, Monday night at home. 


“It’s just one,” Matthew Tkachuk said after the win. “Obviously you really want to take care of the first one, especially on home ice. Now [we’re] just looking forward to Game 2… it always feels good to win but we’ve got a lot of things to clean up and to get better at.”


In the last 18 seasons, teams that won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final went on to win the Cup 14 times

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