SCF Shifts To Florida For Another Elimination Game For Edmonton

The Oilers hit the road to face the Panthers in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday June 18th at 8PM ET
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Four
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
1 of 2

The Oilers are tasked with carrying the confidence gained from an offensive explosion into game five, while also maintaining a healthy level of humility understanding it was "just one win" as Connor McDavid said in his post game media availability.

It's a fine line they have to tow and I do not envy their position. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of positives they can point to that should be emphasized once again on another evening where they are facing elimination.

According to Ryan Rishaug of TSN, the lines this morning at practice remain unchanged from the previous game. And why not, 15 skaters recorded a point and they finally broke the dam by balancing some minor adjustments coupled with not getting too much off script. All of the underlying data through the first three games suggested the Oilers were doing the right things (save for stretches in game 2) but were just unable to convert due to stellar goaltending from Bobrovsky.

One thing they did in particular that resulted in goals directly, was creating off the rush, utilizing stretch passes. It actually got the Panthers off of their own structure which has been stellar throughout this post season defending the rush. Darnell Nurse's tally comes to mind as he made an excellent read in joining the rush, and McLeod's goal late came from a breakdown off of an odd man rush generated by stretching the neutral zone with speed.

They had a volume of shots in games 1 and 3, but the quality of shots in game 4 was far superior. Bobrovsky was forced to make much more difficult saves and the Oilers coaching staff and players obviously know they have to duplicate that to stay in this series. We should see a healthy dose of the same again on Tuesday night, meaning stretch passes quick transitions through the neutral zone and shots off the rush.

One thing they need to clean up is their zone exits, they have been an issue all series and really dating back to the Vancouver series. Whether it be their defenders opting to rim the puck rather than make a tape to tape pass (this can and is often done out of necessity to be sure), or the wingers not being able to win their board battle near the blue line, they have struggled to nullify the Panthers excellent forecheck even in the 8-1 blowout.

The Panthers actually controlled play in the first period. They hit two posts, and Skinner made the now infamous save on the Verhaeghe opportunity off of a 2 on 1. Had he converted that and made the game 2-2, we may not be preparing ourselves for a game 5.

Speaking of Skinner, as a result of the Oilers big win in game 4 and Skinner's excellent net-minding which has not been spoken of nearly enough, he now has a better GAA than his counterpart on the other end of the sheet who was a -350 favorite to win the Conn Smythe heading into game 4. He also has a .901 SV% in the Finals and he needs to continue at that clip or better to keep his team alive.

Now that we have taken a look at a couple of areas in the past that have affected the outcome of previous games let's move on to what the Edmonton Oilers need to happen in order to stop the Florida Panthers from lifting the Cup tomorrow night.