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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Champions Edition – June 25, 2024

* History was guaranteed to be made Monday in Sunrise and it was the host Florida Panthers that came out on the winning side of it as Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves, while Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Reinhart secured the goals and Aleksander Barkov capped of the franchise’s 30th season with its first-ever Stanley Cup lift.

* Oilers captain Connor McDavid was selected the 2024 Conn Smythe Trophy winner after breaking Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record for assists in one playoff year, joining Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the only players in League history with 40-plus points in a postseason and posting the highest point total in the Stanley Cup Final since 2010 – helping his club become the third in League history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0 in the Final.

* After 1,400 games as part of the 2023-24 NHL season, the League’s event calendar continues this week with 2024 NHL Awards (Thursday) and 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft (Friday and Saturday) in Las Vegas.

FOURTH TIME WAS THE CHARM AS PANTHERS CLINCH FRANCHISE’S FIRST STANLEY CUP

On their fourth attempt to clinch the Stanley Cup against the Oilers, captain Aleksander Barkov and the Panthers completed their self-proclaimed “Redemption” tour by capping the 30th season in franchise history with the club’s first Stanley Cup. Barkov, whose son “Barky Jr.” could barely stay awake for the celebration, became the first Finnish player to captain a Stanley Cup champion.

* Florida’s historic victory came one year and 11 days after it fell in the Final to Vegas. The Panthers went from being a Wild Card team whose Cinderella run to the 2023 Final fell three games short, to a club that turned a regular-season division title into a Stanley Cup – the first team to go from being the lowest ranked playoff team one year to Stanley Cup champions the next (under 16-team format).

* Check out the #NHLStats Pack: Panthers Complete Redemption Tour to Clinch First Stanley Cup in Franchise History for a detailed look at their first championship run, including a focus on the team’s success over the two years since acquiring Matthew Tkachuk – whose family was brought to tears as the clock ticked down on the first Cup for the Tkachuk contingent.

McDAVID MASTERFUL EN ROUTE TO CAPTURING CONN SMYTHE TROPHY AS PLAYOFF MVP
Connor McDavid (8-34—42 in 25 GP) spearheaded the Oilers’ comeback attempt against the Panthers and was selected winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy after concluding the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs with an NHL-record 34 assists as well as the fourth highest single-postseason point total in League history.

* Check out the #NHLStats Pack: Oilers Captain Connor McDavid Selected Conn Smythe Trophy Winner After Record-Setting Playoff Performance.

REINHART, BOBROVSKY, VERHAEGHE VAULT PANTHERS TO VICTORY IN GAME 7 

Sam Reinhart recorded the Stanley Cup-clinching goal after a key defensive play by Dmitry Kulikov and Sergei Bobrovsky (23 saves) returned to form with multiple sequences of several stellar stops as Florida finally fended off Edmonton to win Game 7 of the Final. Carter Verhaeghe (1-1—2) opened the scoring and had a game-high two points, with more than half of his career playoff goals being tallied in go-ahead fashion (14 of 26).

* After captain Aleksander Barkov took his turn with the Stanley Cup, the first teammate he passed it to was Bobrovsky, who became the first goaltender in NHL history to win his first Stanley Cup after playing 700-plus regular-season games.

*Reinhart became the fourth player in NHL history to score 50 goals in the regular season and then net the Stanley Cup-clinching goal and first since Jari Kurri (54 G in 1986-87) did so with the 1987 Oilers. The others: Mike Bossy with the Islanders in both 1982-83 (60 G) and 1981-82 (64 G), as well as Guy Lafleur with the Canadiens in 1975-76 (56 G).

* Game 7 marked the final “NHL in ASL” broadcast of the season, with Brice Christianson of P-X-P being named the 2024 Stuart Scott Enspire Award Honoree hours before the broadcast. The first-of-its-kind, alternate telecast was made available to stream during the entire Final and dedicated completely to the Deaf community using American Sign Language.
 

* Alanis Morissette performed “O Canada” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” while former Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo led a “Let’s go Panthers!” chant before puck drop. Luongo is now a Special Advisor to the General Manager for the team and was on the ice to lift the Cup for the first time.  

THEY SAID IT: STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS EDITION


* After spending more than half of his life pursuing a Stanley Cup, Paul Maurice capped his 26th season as an NHL head coach by winning the Stanley Cup for the first time, taking the time to thank those who stuck by him through nearly three decades on his path to becoming a champion, including a special message to his father, noting that his name would now be among his favorite players: “Beliveau, Richard, Howe, Lindsay, Maurice.”

* Kyle Okposo (1,051 GP) became the 20th player in NHL history to win his first Stanley Cup after appearing in 1,000 career games. He did so 18 years to the day after being selected seventh overall in the 2006 NHL Draft.

Sam Bennett was selected by the Flames with the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft after Aaron Ekblad was chosen by the Panthers at No. 1 and Sam Reinhart was taken by the Sabres at No. 2 – making the Panthers the first Cup-winning team with three of the top four picks from the same NHL Draft on its roster. Bennett knows exactly what he’ll be doing to start his day with the Cup this summer.


QUICK CLICKS
 

Linus Ullmark traded to Ottawa for Joonas KorpisaloMark Kastelic and 2024 first-round pick
Sportsnet: 2023-24 Season Wrap
Dmitry Kulikov plays role as unlikely hero for Panthers in Game 7
Ariana Grande celebrates Panthers Stanley Cup on social media
9.7 million viewers across North America watched Game 6 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final

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