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Florida Panthers beat Edmonton Oilers 3-0 in Stanley Cup Game 1 – but goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is the hero

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made a stunning 33 saves to become the fifth goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals as Florida beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 at home.

Eetu Luostarinen, Evan Rodrigues and Carter Verhaeghe scored in each period of Saturday’s game at Amerant Bank Arena.

Chanting ‘Bobby! Bobby!” were repeated over and over as the goaltender everyone calls “Bob” deflected several breakaways, stopped Connor McDavid as the reigning and three-time MVP went into turbo mode, flying all over and out of the box to make the Florida net impenetrable fortress.

At one point, Bobrovsky lost his stick for 30 seconds and still managed to push through.

Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner for his stellar regular-season play, recorded his second shutout in that drive and third in the playoffs in his 14-year career.

The Panthers swept the Oilers on Saturday. night at home to take the series lead

He leads the Panthers to the Cup Final for the first time in franchise history and is now three wins away from hoisting hockey’s sacred trophy for the first time.

It didn’t even matter that they were outshot 32-18. Back in the Finals for the second straight season and healthier and more ready for this moment than in the five-game loss to Vegas a year ago, Florida showed that experience matters at this stage, handling the pressure and tense moments like most of its players. they were already here.

Verhaeghe and Rodrigues’ goals came on the first five shots on net against Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner, who was let dry by a slow backcheck and a lost drive for the puck. Skinner, who has had his ups and downs this postseason and whose play looked like the biggest question in the series, was hardly guilty of either.

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Edmonton controlled much of the 5-on-5 game, extended its penalty kill streak to 30, and its power play did almost everything but score. Despite all that, the Oilers in this core group, led by McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, fall short in the Finals for the first time.

This is the longest streak between teams meeting for the Cup, surpassing the previous record held in 2011 by Boston and Vancouver.

The trophy was brought onto the ice before the puck was dropped, much like the league did by shining a spotlight on it four years ago into empty stands in Edmonton as the playoffs got under way in the pandemic bubble.

It was the exact opposite of an eerily quiet scene, with a sellout crowd of 19,543 screaming fans preparing for a fifth straight final against the Florida team.

While Canada has had 20 playoff appearances in the past 20 seasons, this was the Sunshine State’s 22nd in that span.

The next is scheduled for Monday when those teams return for Game 2.

More to follow…

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