Stanley Cup Final Game 1 recap: Winners, losers as Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky blanks Oilers (2024)

The Florida Panthers are one step closer to their first Stanley Cup championship and they have goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to thank for their Game 1 win on Saturday night.

Bobrovsky made 32 saves, including breakaway stops on Adam Henrique and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, on the way to a 3-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final.

The Panthers got goals from Carter Verhaeghe, Evan Rodrigues and Eetu Luostarinen to pick up just their second win in three trips to the championship round.

The Oilers figured out a way to get around a Panthers forecheck that frustrated other Florida playoff opponents but they weren’t able to capitalize.

Game 2 is Monday night in Sunrise, Florida.

A closer look at Game 1:

Stanley Cup Final Game 1 recap: Winners, losers as Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky blanks Oilers (1)

Game 1 winners and losers

Winners

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky: With his shutout, he has given up two or fewer goals in 11 of his last 12 games. Even on his few puckhandling mistakes, he fought back to keep the puck out of the net.

Oilers offense: You couldn’t ask for much more other than the score. They generated chances, particularly on the power play, and got several breakaways, only to be thwarted by Bobrovsky.

Panthers forward Sam Bennett: He had a game-high 11 hits and made a nice play setting up the Evan Rodrigues goal.

Losers

Oilers defensem*n Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci: They were on the ice for the Panthers’ first two goals and Bennett beat Ceci to the puck before feeding Rodrigues. Coach Kris Knoblauch had put the pairing back together for Game 1. Nurse has a -15 plus-minus in the playoffs.

Panthers' discipline: They were short-handed three times and two penalties could have been avoided. The Oilers are dangerous on the power play and the Panthers can’t afford to be short-handed too many times.

Connor McDavid roughed up: He was dangerous with six shots but also absorbed one of Bennett’s big hits. He also ended up with a cut on his chin, which he said happened on another play.

What the Panthers said after the game

Much of their comments were about the play of Bobrovsky.

"His preparation is incredible," forward Matthew Tkachuk told reporters. "His work ethic, his character, he's everything you want in a teammate."

Said Bobrovsky to ABC: "It was a hard game. They're really smart players and it was a fun challenge."

What the Oilers said after the game

McDavid said there was a lot to like about the Oilers' play in Game 1.

"We generated chances," he told reporters. "We had looks, not a lot of puck luck around the net.”

Knoblauch said the Oilers will need to improve in Game 2.

"Florida, that probably wasn’t their best game," he said. "We anticipate them to be much better the next one."

Panthers vs. Oilers Game 1 highlights

Why do Panthers fans throw plastic rats on the ice?

It comes from the 1995-96 season when Florida’s Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the old Miami Arena. He scored two goals that night, which a teammate called a “rat trick.” Fans started throwing plastic rats on the ice after goals. The Panthers went to the Stanley Cup Final that season. The NHL changed rules to make throwing items on the ice after a goal subject to a delay of game penalty. Fans were warned on Saturday not to throw more after the team's empty-net goal.

Recap of Stanley Cup Final Game 1

Panthers 3, Oilers 0

Eetu Luostarinen scores in the empty net. He had missed last year's final with an injury.

Oilers pull goalie Stuart Skinner

Skinner is out for an extra skater. Edmonton calls a timeout with 1:21 left.

Panthers clamping down in third period

Edmonton is getting its big guns out there as much as it can, but the Oilers have only six shots in the third period with four minutes left.

Panthers go on power play

Edmonton's Corey Perry is called for interference. But the Oilers kill it off to make them perfect on the last 30 short-handed situations.

Third period underway

The Oilers are using a line of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman.

Panthers 2, Oilers 0: End of second period

Other than the score, the Oilers should like what they're doing. They have seven shots on the power play and are outshooting Florida 26-12. Sergei Bobrovsky is keeping the Panthers in the game with three saves on breakaways. He's misplayed the puck a few times, but the Oilers haven't taken advantage.

The Panthers are strong in the third period, outscoring opponents 24-11.

Sergei Bobrovsky shuts down power play

The Panthers kill off the penalty with Bobrovsky looking acrobatic. But the Panthers need to take fewer penalties.

Referees wave off goal; Panthers go short-handed

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped Mattias Janmark and the puck was under his pad. Connor Brown knocked the puck and the goalie into the net and it was immediately ruled no goal. A scrum broke out and two players from each team go into the penalty box. Sam Bennett is called for interference soon after for the Oilers' third power play of the game.

Panthers 2, Oilers 0: Evan Rodrigues scores

The Panthers kill off the penalty and Rodrigues scores at 2:16 after a nice centering feed from Sam Bennett. Bennett beat Cody Ceci to the puck. Oilers defensem*n Ceci and Darnell Nurse have been on the ice for both Florida goals.

Panthers 1, Oilers 0: End of first period

The Oilers controlled much of the period and outshot the Panthers 13-4. The reason they trail: Sergei Bobrovsky, who's on top of his game. The Florida goalie stopped Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a breakaway during the Edmonton power play. He earlier stopped Adam Henrique on a breakaway.

The Panthers will have to kill off another penalty at the start of the second period after Carter Verhaeghe high-sticked Evan Bouchard with nine seconds left in the first.

Oilers go on power play

Gustav Forsling, one of Florida's top penalty killers, trips Connor McDavid. The Oilers' power play was clicking at 37.3% heading into the game. The Panthers, also strong on the penalty kill, survive.

Panthers get game's first power play

Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm is called for tripping Florida's Kyle Okposo at 7:33. Edmonton's penalty kill, which has been perfect the last 10 games, kills it off.

Panthers 1, Oilers 0: Carter Verhaeghe scores opening goal

Aleksander Barkov has a nice rush down the ice and passes to Verhaeghe, who's alone in front. He scores at 3:59 of the first period on Florida's first shot of the game. That's his team-leading 10th goal of the playoffs.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final underway

The opening lineups show that Panthers coach Paul Maurice will try to match up Selke Trophy winner Aleksander Barkov against Oilers star Connor McDavid.

Florida Panthers starting lineup

Center: Aleksander Barkov

Wingers: Sam Reinhart, Carter Verhaeghe

Defensem*n: Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling

Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky

Edmonton Oilers starting lineup

Center: Connor McDavid

Wingers: Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Defensem*n: Evan Bouchard, Mattias Ekholm

Goalie: Stuart Skinner

When is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final?

Game 1 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

How to watch Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

Game 1 will be shown nationally on ABC in the United States. A pregame will be on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET.

How to live stream Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

Game 1 can be streamed on ESPN+ and services that carry ABC, such asFubo. The NHL and P-X-P are producing an alternate telecast dedicated to the deaf community using American Sign Language. That can be streamed on ESPN+.

Connor McDavid careful with pregame interview answer

Oilers captain Connor McDavid said, "I'm not going there," when asked by ABC to finish the sentence: "The Oilers win the Stanley Cup if …"

But McDavid did have high praise for the Panthers: "They skate well, they're aggressive, good on the forecheck, they defend well, they do a lot of really good things. Two teams in the final that are obviously playing well. It will be a good test."

How many Stanley Cup titles have the Oilers won?

Five. They won in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990. They also went to the final in 1983 and 2006.

How many Stanley Cup titles have the Panthers won?

None. They reached the final previously in 1996 and 2023.

Who has the edge on offense?

Oilers: Their top five scorers, led by Connor McDavid's 31 points, have combined for 124 points. The Panthers' top five, led by Matthew Tkachuk's 19, have totaled 77. Four Oilers have more points than Tkachuk. Zach Hyman has five more goals than Florida leader Carter Verhaeghe. The Panthers have greater scoring depth (they trail the Oilers by a quarter goal a game), but Edmonton's high-end talent makes the difference.

Who has the edge on defense?

Panthers: Evan Bouchard's 27 points are better than the top three Panthers defensem*n's point totals combined. But Florida's Gustav Forsling has developed into a top-notch all-around defender. The Panthers are deep because they added three defensem*n in the offseason with Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad facing surgery and those two have returned.

The Panthers' team defense, led by the Selke Trophy-winning Aleksander Barkov, also is impressive. Their forechecking scheme slows opponents' attacks. In the first three rounds, they held NHL leading scorer Nikita Kucherov without a goal, limited David Pastrnak to one and held the New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad to a combined two.

For more categories, click here.

First four 2014 draft picks playing in 2024 final

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad was drafted No. 1 overall by the Panthers. Forward Sam Reinhart went No. 2 overall to the Buffalo Sabres and was traded to Florida in 2021. Forward Leon Draisaitl went No. 3 to the Oilers. Forward Sam Bennett went fourth to the Calgary Flames and was traded to the Panthers in 2021.

Details announced for 4 Nations Face-Off

The NHL and NHL Players' Association announced details for next season's 4 Nations Face-Off featuring the USA, Canada, Sweden and Finland. It will be held Feb. 12-20 at Montreal's Bell Centre and Boston's TD Garden. The championship game will be in Boston. The four countries will announce their first six players on June 28.

The tournament will be held in place of the 2025 All-Star Game and be a tune-up for NHL players' return to the Olympics in 2026.

Warren Foegele to return to Oilers' lineup

Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said forward Warren Foegele will return to the lineup Saturday for Game 1. He had missed the final three games of the Western Conference final against the Dallas Stars. He had a career best 20 goals and 21 assists during the regular season and three points in 15 playoff games.

NHL salary cap figure set for 2024-25 season

The NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Saturday that the salary cap will rise to $88 million next season, up from $83.5 million. It had been relatively flat recently because of the pandemic. The lower limit is $65 million next season.

Canadian broadcaster Sportsnet says X account is compromised

Sportsnet, the Canadian broadcaster, said about four hours before Game 1 that its main X (formerly Twitter) account "has been compromised and we are currently working to recover it. In the meantime it is unsafe to click any links or engage with any posts from the account."

What is the expected goaltending matchup?

Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (12-5, 2.20, .908) vs. Oilers' Stuart Skinner (11-5, 2.50, .897). Bobrovsky won both of the regular-season meetings. Skinner didn't face the Panthers this season.

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Stanley Cup Final Game 1 recap: Winners, losers as Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky blanks Oilers (2024)
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