5 THINGS: Edmonton Oilers peering into playoff void trailing Florida 2-0 in Cup final

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There’s not much to say about that one and maybe not much season left either.

Let’s get into the Edmonton Oilers’ 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday, as they fell behind 0-2 for the first time in these playoffs, shall we?

Or just skip it and wait for the series to come up north Thursday (6 p.m. MT, Sportsnet, CBC):

1. KILL STREAK DEAD

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The Oilers didn’t just lose Game 2, they lost their biggest pillar of strength built up over the majority of these playoffs when their 34 consecutive penalty-kill streak ended Monday.

Edmonton’s penalty kill was a perfect 30-for-30 in its previous 11 games. And it added four more, including a pair on a five-minute major assessed to Warren Foegele for a knee against Eetu Luostarinen, before Evan Rodrigues scored his third goal in two games to become the first player in franchise history with multiple goals in the Stanley Cup final.

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“I think our mentality changed in the third, where we stopped treating it like a power play and started treating it like 5-on-5,” Rodrigues told the ABC broadcast. “They come with a lot of pressure and if you try to make a cute play, it’s never going to work, so we changed our mindset to play fast, act like it was 5-on-5, because as soon as you get the puck you’ve got a guy on you.

“So, you have to be one step ahead. I thought it got better in the third and I think we got rewarded because of it.”

Still, Edmonton’s excellent efforts while playing shorthanded have helped them get this far and, as the saying goes, they will continue to dance with the one that brung ya in order to take advantage of whatever momentum they can muster over these next two games at home.

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2. SHOT IN THE FOOT

If you went back and told the Oilers they were going to score on their first shot of the game, they’d happily take it.

But they probably should have read the fine print first.

It didn’t come until more than 11 minutes passed.

In a game where they only had 18 more shots to Florida’s 29.

Oh, and it would stand as Edmonton’s lone goal.

And not just of the game, but of the entire series so far, while Florida responded with four unanswered.

It was the second time in as many games this series that a team scored on its first shot of the game, but the Panthers got a much sweeter deal when they did it on the way to a 3-0 shutout in the opener.


From the other end of the rink, courtesy the Miami Herald

Bad weather doesn’t dampen the spirits of the Panthers or Oilers before Game 2

Florida Panthers rally to beat Edmonton Oilers, go up 2-0 in Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup is in sight for Florida Panthers with 4-1 rout of Oilers, 2-0 Final lead


3. BIG GUNS SILENCED

What are the chances the top two playoff points leaders overall would have just a single point between them two games into the final round?

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You would have to ask Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl themselves.

Despite leading the way with 32 points (five goals, 27 assists) in 20 post-season games, McDavid has been limited to an assist on Edmonton’s lone goal of the series.

And Draisaitl doesn’t even have that much to show, as the Oilers’ two biggest offensive weapons have been firing blanks so far.

Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad, who found the back of the net Monday — albeit an empty one — for the first time in these playoffs, has more goals in this series than both of them so far.

4. CHARLES NOT IN CHARGE

At least one member of the panel still has complete faith in the Oilers turning things around.

The Round Mound of Rebound himself, Charles Barkley, offered his wholly unfiltered thoughts during a second intermission interview on CBC as to why he picked the Oilers as his Stanley Cup favourites at the outset.

“Well, they played great in Game 1, but they didn’t win. (Panthers goalie Sergei) Bobrovsky was f*** … Oops! Sorry, sorry. I’m sorry,” Barkley said, after not quite censoring himself in time, before trying to recover on live television. “He was freaking amazing. I apologize, you all kids at home. He was freaking amazing. But the Oilers, I picked them from the start of the playoffs. But Florida? the Panthers are amazing.

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“To me, this is a must-win for the Panthers because if they go back to Edmonton — Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton are three of my favourite teams in the world — that place would be crazy if it’s 1-1.”

Barkley didn’t stop there, however, adding an exclamation point by namedropping Don Cherry, who was fired by the network amid a storm of controversy, as one of his three “greatest Canadians ever.”

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5. WHAT ABOUT BOB?

F-bombs aside, Barkley wasn’t wrong about Bobrovsky.

The Panthers netminder has now allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of his past 13 games, going back to Game 2 of their second-round series against the Boston Bruins.

Monday marked the first time in these playoffs he allowed a goal through his legs.

At the other end of the ice, Stuart Skinner came into Monday’s game allowing two goals or less in four straight and eight of his previous nine to give the Oilers a chance to win. But that streak ended Monday.

Speaking of streaks, the Oilers haven’t got a 5-on-5 goal from a forward in four games now.

E-mail: [email protected]

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

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