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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Final Edition – June 10, 2024

Connor McDavid has 16 points following a loss in these playoffs, among the highest such totals in League history, as he looks to help the Oilers even the Stanley Cup Final before it shifts to Edmonton.

Sergei Bobrovsky and the Panthers will look to build upon their Game 1 shutout by moving closer to the Stanley Cup than ever before. It has been 16 years since the Final started with back-to-back shutouts.

* While the top four picks from the 2014 NHL Draft prepare for Game 2 (8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN+, Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports), the top four-ranked North American skaters continue their build-up to the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft with a stop at the Stanley Cup Final: Macklin CelebriniArtyom LevshunovCayden Lindstrom and Zeev Buium all will be in attendance Monday.

OILERS FIND THEMSELVES ON FAMILIAR FOOTING AFTER GAME 1 DEFEAT
Connor McDavid and the Oilers have made a habit of rebounding from a loss in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs and will have to continue that trend to even the Final before the series shifts to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4. The club’s five wins following a loss this postseason are tied for the second most in a playoff year in franchise history (5-3 in 1991), one back of the 6-2 mark they had in 2006.

* Edmonton has split its four Game 1s this postseason but prior to 2024 had dropped seven in a row from the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the 2023 Second Round. In each of the past three instances of suffering a Game 1 defeat (and in five of the past six since 2022), the Oilers have responded by tying series at 1-1.
 

* Overall, the Oilers have dropped Game 1 of a Final for the fourth time and look to bounce back to win a championship for the second time following 1985, when the club strung together four consecutive wins against the Flyers en route to their second consecutive Stanley Cup.


* Each of the past three teams to rebound from a series-opening loss in the Final with a win in Game 2 went on to capture the Cup – and did so to either end lengthy championship wait or secure their first: Tampa Bay (4-2 vs. DAL in 2020), St. Louis (4-3 vs. BOS in 2019) and Washington (4-1 vs. VGK in 2018).
 

* McDavid has potted 54 career points (18-36—54 in 28 GP) in all-time postseason games following a loss and 16 points in that scenario during the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs (3-13—16 in 6 GP) – already the most in a single postseason in franchise history and two more than the next closest (Esa Tikkanen: 7-7—14 in 1991, 8 GP & McDavid: 5-9—14 in 2022, 7 GP).

PANTHERS CAN GET CLOSER TO THE CUP THAN THEY’VE EVER BEEN

The Panthers are ahead 1-0 for the third time this postseason, following the First Round when they ended up winning the first three games (thanks in large part to the unforgettable Game 2 efforts of Sergei Bobrovsky and Carter Verhaeghe), and the Conference Finals when they then fell behind 2-1 following consecutive overtime defeats. Florida’s Game 2 record in a best-of-seven is a 50-50 split all time, but they will look to boost that and become the fourth consecutive team to take a 2-0 series lead in the Final.

* Bobrovsky has an active shutout streak of 61:40 dating to the third period of the Conference Finals-clinching Game 6. The last time a Stanley Cup Final started with a shutout, in 2011, Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo ended up holding the Bruins off the score sheet for the first 89:00 of the series – the ninth-longest shutout streak in NHL history by a team to begin the Final.

* Bobrovsky and the Panthers would achieve an NHL first if they post another shutout Monday: the Oilers have never been held to zero goals in consecutive playoff games (including spanning postseasons). The last time Edmonton suffered consecutive shutout defeats at any point was in 2020-21 when they did so on Feb. 27 and March 1, both against Toronto.

LOOKING BACK AT OTHER FINAL SERIES THAT STARTED WITH A SHUTOUT

Sergei Bobrovsky’s shutout Saturday marked the 16th by a goaltender in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but only the 15th championship series to open with one. How could that be? In 1927, with NHL teams the sole competitors for the Stanley Cup for the first time, the opening contest of the Final was a 0-0 tie thanks to perfect performances by Alec Connell of the original Ottawa Senators and Hal Winkler of the Bruins. That 1927 instance was the second in a string of five straight years in which the Final started with a shutout, but it has happened only nine times in the 93 championship series since 1931.

* Overall, the Final has started with back-to-back shutouts on five occasions including four times with the same team earning each: the 1926 Montreal Maroons2003 Devils and 2008 Red Wings all started with two straight, while the 1945 Maple Leafs pulled ahead 3-0 in the series with three straight clean sheets by Frank McCool (before eventually being forced to a Game 7). The fifth instance was in 1947 when the Maple Leafs posted a Game 2 shutout after the Canadiens earned one in the opener.

* Six teams have rebounded from being shut out in Game 1 of the Final by winning Game 2, including three instances in the League’s modern era (since 1943-44): the 2001 Devils1984 Islanders and 1947 Maple Leafs. Before that, it was also achieved by the 1928 Rangers1927 original Senators (after the 0-0 tie in Game 1) and 1919 Canadiens (in a series eventually canceled due to the influenza epidemic).

* The back-to-back shutouts in 2008 and 2003 were achieved by Chris Osgood and Martin Brodeur, respectively, en route to Stanley Cup wins. In the three instances during the modern era of a team winning Game 2 after being shut out in Game 1 of the Final, they did so by surrendering fewer than two goals: Brodeur backstopped the Devils with a 19-save effort in 2001 (2-1 W at COL), Billy Smith (22 saves) and a Clark Gillies hat trick guided the Islanders in 1984 (6-1 W vs. EDM), and in 1947 Turk Broda posted a shutout as the Maple Leafs evened the series (4-0 W at MTL).

TOP PROSPECTS TO WITNESS GAME 2 OF FINAL AT AMERANT BANK ARENA

Macklin Celebrini (No. 1-ranked NA skater), Artyom Levshunov (No. 2-ranked NA skater, Cayden Lindstrom (No. 3-ranked NA skater) and Zeev Buium (No. 4-ranked NA skater) – the top four-ranked North American skater prospects ahead of the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft – will attend Game 2 between the Panthers and Oilers. While they get a taste of Stanley Cup Final intensity, the top four picks from 2014 NHL Draft – who were in the same circumstance a decade ago – will compete for a victory on the ice. Click here to read about each of the four prospects’ fitness performance at the 2024 NHL Scouting Combine presented by adidas.

* As the youngest freshman in the NCAA in 2023-24, Celebrini was named the winner of the 2024 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, Hockey East Player of the Year and Hockey East Rookie of the Year. He also led Team Canada in their bronze-medal entry at the 2023 Under-18 World Championship with 6-9—15 in 7 games, finishing fifth in the tournament in points, and led the country in goals and points at the 2024 World Junior Championship (4-4—8 in 5 GP).

* Levshunov averaged nearly a point per game as a freshman blueliner with Michigan State (9-26—35 in 38 GP) en route to being named Big Ten Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year while helping Michigan State earn Big Ten regular-season and postseason titles.

* Lindstrom recorded 27-19—46 in 32 games overall in 2023-24 and won the 2024 CHL Top Draft Prospect Award. Lindstrom also has a gold medal under his belt after representing Team Canada at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (2-1—3 in 5 GP). He also represented Canada White at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2-2—4 in 6 GP).

* Buium won a national championship with the University of Denver as a freshman and was named the conference’s 2023-24 Rookie of the Year and Best Offensive Defenseman after finishing the season with the most points among NCAA blueliners with 11-39—50 in 42 games. He also left his mark on the international stage when he won gold with Team USA at the 2024 World Junior Championship, where he scored in the gold-medal game to finish the tournament with the best plus-minus (+11) and the most goals by a defenseman (3).

‘NHL IN ASL’ RETURNS FOR GAME 2, ‘STANLEY CUP LIVE’ GOES PRE-GAME

The first-of-its-kind telecast dedicated to the Deaf community, “NHL in ASL” airs tonight for Game 2. Using American Sign Language (ASL), and created in partnership with P-X-P, the telecast is available on ESPN+ (U.S.) and Sportsnet+ (Canada). Hosted by NHL alumnus The Game 2 telecast will feature intermission guests Katarina Ziervogel, an Ojibwe/Mohawk/German Deaf woman from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba who made her acting debut in Marvel Studio’s Echo, and comedian Brett Shaffer.

* Before the action begins, catch the “Stanley Cup Live presented by New Amsterdam Vodka” pre-game show on the NHL’s YouTube channel starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.

WHO HAS THE EDGE? A SAMPLING OF NHL EDGE STATS AHEAD OF GAME 2

A look at some advanced stats via NHL.com/EDGE entering the Stanley Cup Final:

* Within the high-danger zone, Sergei Bobrovsky has the most saves (122), second-most shots against (140) behind Igor Shesterkin (147) and second-highest save percentage (.871). In the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bobrovsky’s high-danger save percentage stood at .831 to rank eighth.

* Collectively, the Oilers (882.57 miles) and Panthers (839.46 miles) have skated 1,722.03 miles so far this postseason – just over half the distance between their home arenas (2,541 miles). With top games of 62.81 miles and 58.22 miles so far this postseason, respectively, neither is likely to overtake the team with most miles skated until Game 3 (or in overtime Monday).

QUICK CLICKS

Oilers confident they can rebound from Game 1 loss in Stanley Cup Final

Panthers have ‘lots of room to improve’ despite Game 1 win

Stanley Cup Final blog: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Stanley Cup Final blog: Evan Rodrigues

Game 1 averaged 3.1 million total viewers; Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN nets are up 26%

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