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The Series Preview of Edmonton Oilers vs Florida Panthers for the 2024 Stanley Cup

For anyone who has been following us along, or for those first-time readers, we’ve made it. We at Last Word have been covering all the series thus far and here we are at the end. The 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight between the Edmonton Oilers and the home side, Florida Panthers. Can Connor McDavid and the rest of the Oilers star offensive players stay one step ahead of the Panthers? Or will the team that has been here before, find a way to finally break through? The Florida Panthers are the betting favourites (-140), which isn’t a lot. Let’s take a look to see how the Oilers can get the scales to tip in their favour. However, maybe the Panthers are just too good, and why the title as favourite suits them so well.

Edmonton Oilers vs Florida Panthers Playoff Series Prediction Based on the Season Series

The Oilers had a 24-3 stretch from late November through late January during the 2023-24 NHL regular season. Those three loses came in consecutive games. Also, prior to that incredible stretch, they had a three-game losing streak. Moreover, the Panthers and Oilers two-game season series occurred within each of those two, three game losing streaks. Therefore, maybe there was an element of luck to the Panthers taking the regular season series 2-0 vs the Oilers. Conversely, the Oilers did have some positive takeaways in the games themselves.

The first game was 5-3 Panthers, but the Oilers did jump out to a 2-0 lead just nine minutes in. Perhaps having an easy, two-goal lead is dangerous for the Oilers. Case in point, in the Oilers last series, against the Dallas Stars, Games 3 and 4 both saw 2-0 leads resulting in losses, alternating between the two teams. It is something to look out for, that even an early lead, by either team, could be erased quickly by the star power on either side.

Furthermore, from the regular season series, the Oilers seemed to handle themselves physically vs the Panthers. In the second game, the hit totals ended 41-26, in favour of the Oilers. Also, despite the three goals allowed in the one game, Sergei Bobrovsky put together a combined .941 SV% over the two games, thus asserting his dominance. Bobrovsky is one of the stars of this final series, and he will have an impact. In contrast, McDavid still produced in the season series, including an assist on their lone second-game goal, which at the time, extended a personal point streak to 12 games. It just seems like even though the Panthers are favourites, the Oilers do matchup as well as any opponent, including them. And rightfully so, high-end skill is difficult to slow down. And the Oilers possess as top-shelf skills as you can get.

How Does the Edmonton Oilers Defence Stack Up Against the Florida Panthers

Oilers Key to Victory

The Edmonton Oilers currently have the top four leading scorers in this year’s playoffs. If McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins maintain their current playoff scoring rate, they will finish with 41, 37, 36, and 27 points, respectively. That is if they all maintain their current point pace through six games of the final. This also assumes that Edmonton wins Game 6 on home ice to capture their first cup in 34 years. Also, as a sidebar, if McDavid, who has 26 helpers, specifically continues on his torrent assist pace, he will break Wayne Gretzky‘s record with 31 in a single post-season.

Additionally, if the Oilers are to emerge victorious, their depth players will have to chip in. This is a character trait their depth has been successful at providing all post-season long thus far. And there’s no reason to think it can’t continue to be the trend for them. Take Connor Brown‘s performance in the last series as a prime example. Brown had just 12 points in 71 regular season games. However, in the Dallas series, he ended up with a three-game point streak. Maybe it will be someone like Dylan Holloway or Ryan McLeod turn to shine. But if the Oilers are to win, they will need to once again have their depth, role guys to step up.

Panthers Key to Victory

In order for the Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup, they just have to keep doing what they’ve been doing that’s made them favourites. For starters, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky needs to continue his solid play. He doesn’t need to great, he just needs to perform like he has been. At 24 wins, he has the most wins over the past two post-seasons. This playoff’s .908 SV% has been steady. If the Panthers are to win the cup, he just needs to maintain.

In addition, recently we looked at the comparison of the two defences, of which we gave the Panthers the advantage. Therefore, again, the Panthers defence just needs to play as they have been this post-season. Even as deep as the Oilers defence is as well, if both are playing their best hockey based on the sample thus far in the playoffs, the Panthers will have the leg up. In another of the Panthers keys to victory, again, their defence just has to maintain. And as for the forward group, the Panthers are just so deep. For instance, just think about their trade deadline acquisitions, Vladimir Tarasenko or Kyle Okposo. Tarasenko had a career-high 82 points, only back to 2021-22. Meanwhile, Okposo is a former captain in this league. These are the type of players the Panthers added, and they aren’t even apart of their top-six group. So, if the goaltending and defence maintains, the depth of Florida’s forward group, is going to be tough to beat in a seven-game showdown.

Our Stanley Cup Finals Prediction Showcasing the Oilers vs the Panthers

Based on our discussion, it does seem like we were leaning towards the Panthers. In contrast, the Oilers have a potent offensive group, that thus far through the 2024 playoffs, has yet to be denied. Look for that to be the prevailing trend that continues, and carries the Oilers through to victory. It won’t be easy, but winning the hardest championship in sports to win, rarely is easy to win. The Stanley Cup Finals kick-off tonight at 8 PM Eastern from Sunrise, Florida, and no matter what goes down, the star power alone makes this must watch television.

Prediction: Oilers takes the series 4-2.

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Main photo credit: Yannick Peterhans – USA TODAY Sports


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