Panthers take 2-0 series lead in Stanley Cup Final, defeat Oilers 4-1

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final after their 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night in Sunrise. 


The series will shift to Edmonton for games 3 and 4 — with the Panthers just two wins away from the Stanley Cup. 


After conceding on the first shot of the game, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped the next 18 shots he faced, leading his team to their 14th win of the postseason. 


Looking to bounce back after their Game 1 loss, the Oilers put themselves in a not so ideal situation early in the game. 


9:21 into the first, Oilers forward Warren Foegle was ejected from the game 9:21 into the first period after he was given a major penalty for kneeing Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen.


Luostarinen took some time to get up following the hit, but he returned to the ice later in the period. 


Florida’s extended power play only lasted 1:37 after Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for a tripping penalty.


On the subsequent 4-on-4, Mattias Ekholm scored the Oilers first goal of the series — on their first shot of the game — 11:17 into the first. 


Down 1-0 in the second, Niko Mikkola tied the game 9:34 into period with his second goal of the playoffs.


“I think we were pretty god at the start [of the game] — even if we were down one goal,” Mikkola said. “Everybody was calm and trusting the process. We were trusting that we were going to get the chances and I was real lucky, got the one through.”


The 1-1 score held into the second intermission.


Evan Rodrigues has had himself one heck of a start to his first trip in the Stanley Cup Final. He scored his first career SCF goal in Game 1. He’d one up that on Monday night.


Rodrigues gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead 3:11 into the third, scoring his fifth goal of the postseason — this would be the eventual game winner.


“It doesn’t matter who it is. We’re looking for wins here,” Rodrigues said. “We’re happy with the results in our first two.”


Just about halfway through the third, the Panthers suffered a brutal blow when their captain Aleksander Barkov left the game after taking an elbow to the face/jaw area from Leon Draisatl. 


Barkov immediately fell down to the ice and didn’t get up until the trainers came to assist him. He would not return to the game, while Draisaitl was given a two-minute minor penalty on the play. 


As for what the Panthers thought of the hit, a few players wouldn’t give a comment post game, while head coach Paul Maurice didn’t vocalize his opinion either. 


“This isn’t the Oprah Winfrey show. My feelings don’t matter,” Maurice said.


There was no update postgame regarding Barkov’s health.


The Panthers quickly rallied despite the loss of their captain — cashing in on the power play from Rodrigues’ second goal of the game. Florida led 3-1 with 7:34 left in the game. 


Through the first two games of the series, Rodrigues has more goals (three) than the entire Oilers team has (one). He has 11 points thus far in the playoffs. 


Aaron Ekblad iced the game with an empty net goal, his first of the playoffs, as the Panthers walked away with a 4-1 win. 


There will be two full days off before Game 3, which will be Thursday, June 13 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

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