Oilers stay alive with thrashing of Panthers in Game 4

League: NHL

Posted on: 16 Jun, 2024 at 04:28 AM

Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to help the Edmonton Oilers avoid elimination with an 8-1 win against the visiting Florida Panthers on Saturday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Game 5 is set for Tuesday in Sunrise, Fla.

"We did our job on the offensive side today, but it's just one win for us," Oilers center Leon Draisaitl said. "We have to get better and keep putting it together."

With his third helper, McDavid set the NHL record for most assists in a single postseason with 32. McDavid had been tied with Wayne Gretzky, who totaled 31 assists in 1988 when he and the Oilers won the Stanley Cup.

"Obviously we needed it and it feels good, feels good to survive another day," McDavid told Sportsnet about the Game 4 win. "And go down to Florida and look to do the same."

Dylan Holloway had two goals and an assist and Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist for Edmonton. Adam Henrique, Darnell Nurse, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan McLeod also scored, while Stuart Skinner made 32 saves.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped just 11 of 16 shots before he was replaced by Anthony Stolarz, who finished with 16 saves for Florida.

"Not a lot of silver linings here, people, but Bob got some rest," Florida coach Paul Maurice said. "We'll take that."

The Oilers never trailed, building a 3-1 lead in the first period.

The Panthers went on the first power play of the game when Nurse was whistled for tripping Sam Bennett, but it was Edmonton that scored, short-handed, to take a 1-0 lead at 3:11.

Connor Brown stole the puck in the Florida zone to spark a two-on-one rush. He carried the puck below the goal line before passing it back out front to Janmark with Bobrovsky out of the crease. Janmark then banked his shot off Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov for his third goal of the playoffs.

"Huge (penalty) kill there at the beginning by Brownie, he set the tone with that goal," Oilers forward Zach Hyman told NHL Network. "The crowd was loud obviously, brought life to our group, and it was a good start."

The Oilers extended the lead to 2-0 at 7:48.

Mattias Ekholm made a stretch pass to Janmark at the Florida blue line. Janmark spun away from Panthers defenseman Niko Mikkola and headed into Florida's zone before making a centering pass to Henrique, who redirected the puck high into the net.

Florida cut its deficit to 2-1 at 11:26 when Gustav Forsling took a slap shot from just inside the blue line that Tarasenko tipped into the net.

Skinner made his best save of the game 39 seconds later when he stuck out his left arm to turn away a shot by Carter Verhaeghe.

The Oilers then increased their lead to 3-1 at 14:48.

Brett Kulak made a blue-line-to-blue-line pass to Draisaitl, who followed up with a centering pass to Holloway, and Holloway slid a backhand between the pads of Bobrovsky. The assist marked Draisaitl's first point of the series. He added another on Nugent-Hopkins' power-play tally.

Edmonton blew the game open by outscoring the Panthers 3-0 in the second period.

McDavid made it 4-1 at 1:13 with his first goal of the series and Nurse pushed the lead to 5-1 at 4:59. Nugent-Hopkins followed with the first power-play goal of the series for Edmonton during a five-on-three, extending the lead to 6-1 at 13:03.

Holloway scored his second goal of the game at 14:11 of the third, and McLeod scored at 16:41 for the 8-1 final.

While they still face a steep climb to get back in the series, McDavid and the Oilers are keeping an even-keeled outlook.

"Just calm, there's nothing to panic about," McDavid told Sportsnet. "We're still in a hole. There's no pressure on us, really. Just have to find a way to get a win in Game 5 and go from there."

--Field Level Media