Saturday, June 15, 2024
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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Final Edition – June 11, 2024

* The Panthers received another strong performance from their two-time Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and two more goals from Evan Rodrigues to build a 2-0 series lead before heading to Edmonton.

Connor McDavid notched his first career Stanley Cup Final point with an assist on the opening goal and will look to help his club continue a recent trend that has seen six of the past seven Final games won by the home club.

* Top prospects Macklin CelebriniArtyom LevshunovCayden Lindstrom and Zeev Buium met the likes of McDavid, Commissioner Gary Bettman and DJ Khaled (who performed before Game 2) while getting a taste of the Stanley Cup Final. All four are projected first-round picks at the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft later this month.

PANTHERS PULL AHEAD 2-0 WITH GOALS BY RODRIGUES, STRONG OUTING BY “BOB”

Chants of “We Want the Cup” rained down inside Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise after the Panthers scored four unanswered goals – including three in the third period and two by forward Evan Rodrigues – en route to claiming a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final. Florida is closer to a championship than they have ever been, with the opportunity to come home from Edmonton with their first Cup.

* The Panthers claimed their seventh comeback win of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, equaling their most ever in a single postseason (also 7 in 2023). It was the 40th comeback victory overall in 2024, the third-most ever at this stage (83 GP; behind 44 in 1999 and 42 in 1991).

* The Panthers have outscored opponents 28-11 in the third period this postseason (including 4-0 in the Final). Their plus-17 goal differential in the third period is tied with the 1999 Stars for the fifth highest in a single postseason in NHL history, behind the 1984 Oilers (22), 1983 Islanders (22), 1944 Canadiens (19) and 2003 Devils (18).

* Florida’s third goal of the night was the first power play goal against Edmonton in nearly a month, halting their stretch of 34 consecutive penalties. The Oilers became the fourth team since 1977-78 to hold opponents without a power-play goal on at least 34 consecutive opportunities within a postseason, following the 2006 Ducks (39), 1988 Bruins (37) and 2001 Blues (34).

* After the Panthers outshot the Oilers 22-7 through two periods, Sergei Bobrovsky denied all 12 shots on goal by Edmonton in the third period to turn out his third consecutive outing allowing one goal or fewer. He is the first goaltender in 16 years to yield one or fewer goals against through the first two games of the Final.

* The Panthers have allowed only one goal through the first two games of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final after also surrendering just one in the close-out victory in the Conference Finals. That matches the longest such stretch in franchise playoff history (also 3 GP in 1996).

RODRIGUES FINDING FORM IN FIRST FORAY IN FINAL

Playing for his fourth team in five seasons and in his first campaign with the Panthers, Evan Rodrigues is making the most of his first trip to the Stanley Cup Final with a goal in each of his first two appearances in the championship series. His first tally was his first-ever game-winning goal in the playoffs (35 GP) and first winner in any contest since December.

* An undrafted free agent out of Boston University who spent parts of five seasons with Buffalo, followed by three with Pittsburgh and one with Colorado, Rodrigues now has three goals in the 2024 Final – already the most by a Panthers player in the championship series. Last year, he watched as his former college and NHL teammate, Jack Eichel, tallied eight points in the Final en route to winning the Cup and leading the playoffs in scoring.

* Rodrigues’ three goals are tied for the most by a player through the first two games of the Final over the past 91 years (and one of 10 such instances in the League’s expansion era, since 1967-68).

* Rodrigues also is one of 11 players since 1997 to score in each of his first two career appearances in the Stanley Cup Final (a list that includes his current teammate Vladimir Tarasenko, who notched an assist Monday).

CELEBRINI, LEVSHUNOV, LINDSTROM, BUIUM ATTEND GAME 2 AHEAD OF NHL DRAFT

The stars of tomorrow met the stars of today and then watched them take the ice for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final as Macklin CelebriniArtyom LevshunovCayden Lindstrom and Zeev Buium, the top four-ranked North American skaters for the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, made the rounds chatting with NHL players and media before attending Monday’s contest (click here to watch a few highlights).

* For Celebrini, Lindstrom and Buium, it was their first taste of the Final, but for Levshunov it was his third straight appearance at the Final – he also attended games between the Lightning and Avalanche in 2022, as well as the Panthers and Golden Knights in 2023.

* Celebrini, Levshunov, Lindstrom and Buium then watched as players who had been in their shoes before took to the ice for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Ten players on the Florida and Edmonton rosters had previously attended the Final as a top prospect: Connor McDavidEvan BouchardLeon DraisaitlSam GagnerRyan Nugent-HopkinsDarnell NurseAaron EkbladSam BennettSam Reinhart and Matthew TkachukClick here to read the NHL.com feature on their day at the Final.

GET YOUR EYES ON THIS
 

* Ratings for opening game of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final were up 43% across North America, with 7.1 million viewers producing the most-watched Final Game 1 since 2019.

* Before Game 2, DJ Khaled performed as part of the Stanley Cup Concert Series presented by BODYARMOR Sports Drink followed by Miami Heat legend and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Alonzo Mourning igniting the crowd on the Panthers’ drum.

* Guests on the ABC telecast included No. 1-ranked North American skater Macklin Celebrini along with Charles Barkley, while the Sportsnet broadcast caught the celebration from the “Moss Pit” in Edmonton of the Oilers’ first Stanley Cup Final goal in nearly two decades.


ICYMI: During Game 1 on Saturday, the official check presentation for AstraZeneca’s $500,000 donation to the Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation followed the announcement that a total north of $4 million was raised this season.

LET’S GO, GIRLS: SHANIA TWAIN, OUR LADY PEACE TO HEADLINE PRE-GAME CONCERTS

The teams will reconvene Thursday in Edmonton for Game 3, the first in the Final to be played in front of fans in the city since June 17, 2006 (a 4-0 series-extending victory at Rexall Place). They will look to build on a recent trend that has seen six of the past seven games in the Stanley Cup Final won by the home club.

* Before the puck drops for the next two games, fans can enjoy free concerts co-hosted by the NHL and Rogers. Global superstar and five-time GRAMMY winner Shania Twain and four-time JUNO Award-winning rock band Our Lady Peace will headline free musical performances outside Rogers Place as part of the Rogers Festival at the FinalClick here for more information.

QUICK CLICKS

Calgary Tower will light up blue and orange, but not for Oilers

Color of Hockey: Award-winning website highlights Indigenous in game

*Stanley Cup Final Game 2 live blog: Oilers vs. Panthers

Young Panthers fan goes viral after Game 1 TV interview

Jim Nill of Stars named General Manager of the Year

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