Barkov, Bobrovsky and the Panthers beat the Oilers 4-3 to move within win of Stanley Cup title

Alberta’s Edmonton — — The Florida Panthers are poised to win the Stanley Cup because of their leaders who showed them the way this far in the playoffs and mainly with a winning formula that has worked for them all season.

Thursday night, in Game 3 of the Cup final, the Panthers held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Captain Aleksander Barkov assisted on one goal and scored another, while goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made several of his 32 saves to thwart a late rally attempt.

They can win Game 4 Saturday night in Edmonton and win the first championship in the history of the team.

“We’re certain that this will be the hardest game yet,” Barkov said. Nothing is taken for granted by us. Each and every day is lived one day at a time. We handle things one at a time, whether it’s one shift or one period. We’ve been like that the whole year.

They inched closer to the top of the hockey world by keeping Connor McDavid off the scoresheet after capitalizing early on a few Edmonton mistakes. While the Oilers made a late push but couldn’t pull away and the Panthers relied on Bobrovsky to hold onto the win thanks to a highlight-reel save on Ryan McLeod in the dying minutes,.

They’re a very skilled offensive team,” Bobrovsky said. “They’re going to make some plays. It’s a fun challenge if you just focus on every single one. It’s fun to play against them because they bring their best.”.

Well, long before then Darnell Nurse fumbled away the puck on Sam Bennett’s, goaltender Stuart Skinner coughed up the ball on Vladimir Tarasenko’s and Barkov caused one of Evan Bouchard’s giveaways moments before Sam Reinhart’s goal.

“We let them take that momentum and stride with it,” Skinner said. “Just a few careless errors. That is not necessary to occur.

One of the highlights of the game was the breakaway in which Barkov outskated the defenders and then got one past Skinner. The crowd that had electrified and in essence for the first Final featuring an Edmonton following since 2006, temporarily quelled. That trip did not end well, either.

The Oilers will have to make the resolve of a 3-0 comeback, done only four times in Stanley cup playoff history and once in the final – in 1942 to avoid that fate and end Canada’s cup drought.
The Panthers entered the NHL in months before they ever played their first game, the last Canadian franchise to win was Montreal since 1993 in the championship, including this series.

Behind these two leaders, more than anyone for the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP, Florida has completely turned the tide for them. That was unquestionably the best on the ice in Game 3, even though Barkov had been removed from Game 2 on Monday night after taking a big hit from Leon Draisaitl.

Our competitiveness, willpower and desire to win this one was huge right from the start,” Bennett said. “Everybody, including our goalie gave it their all.” Nice to see the effort was made. It is something you either have or don’t. Twenty-three of the canines on our squad possess that will. It is something you either have or don’t.

Winger Matthew Tkachuk, the other main protagonist of this push by the Panthers, contributed another big assist and piled on the pressure on Edmonton.

They just sort of folded under the pressure, dropping a game in which they were, for the most part better than the opponent, but admittedly could not overcome some badly-timed mistakes. Warren Foegele, Philip Broberg, and McLeod scored, with Skinner allowing four on 23 shots. McDavid, for essentially the first time in playoffs, seemed frustrated and flustered.

Five shots on goal for the Oilers. Post game, McDavid said, “We’re trying to figure them out. In three games, we have not defeated them. There have been good and horrible periods in our history.”.

They’re taking the cold ones to the greatest stage in the league and putting them on ice for a possible championship celebration 2,500 miles away because of their style of bogging down top opponents and defending them to the point where it makes one wonder whether they can score.

It did not hurt to wait until Wednesday to fly into Alberta, either, as their aircraft arrived a few hours late because of storms – less than 24 hours before puck drop. They beat Edmonton on Thursday night anyway. The Panthers did not look jet-lagged at all; they were ready to jump on scoring chances and play good hockey at the most important moments.

“We continue to be in the moment”, Bobrovsky said. We just don’t try and get too far ahead. We’re just going to enjoy the now and stay in it.

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