Edmonton Oilers at Florida Panthers – Stanley Cup Finals Game 7

For the 18th time in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, we have a Game 7. But for the first time since 1945, that Game 7 is being played after one team went up 3-0 in the series. That team this time is the Florida Panthers, and even though they are playing at home on Monday night, the pressure is on them.

Just last year, the Panthers were in the finals, but lost in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights. In 1996, they were also in the finals, but were swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

This was it. This was the team, and this was the series. This was going to be the year they finally won the Cup. Instead, the Edmonton Oilers have come roaring back, winning three straight, and winning Game 6 in Edmonton without a single shot on goal or point by Connor McDavid. Previously, Edmonton was 0-7 when that was McDavid’s line.

The Panthers now know that stopping McDavid is not enough. And considering the lopsided nature of the last three games, maybe nothing is enough.

Offensive Turnaround

In the first three games of the series, all Florida wins, the Panthers outscored the Oilers 11-4. Sergei Bobrovsky was fantastic in goal for Florida, and their defense was shutting down the powerful Edmonton offense.

But in the last three games, all Edmonton wins, the Oilers have outscored the Panthers 18-5. As good as the Panthers were in the first half of the series, the Oilers have been better in this second half of the series. In these three wins, the 18 goals have been scored by 11 different players.

It’s not the superstars that are leading this comeback. It’s been a complete team effort on offense, and it has highlighted why the Oilers are so dangerous, and why they were one of the top scoring teams in the league this year.

Game 7 Expectations

When the series was 3-0, the Panthers were paying -2500 to win the Stanley Cup. That’s now -112 on the Game 7 moneyline, while the Oilers are sitting at -108. On the puck line, the Panthers are +235 on -1.5.

Don’t bet on McDavid failing to get a shot on goal in the most important game of his career. The over/under on shots from the three-time MVP is 3.5. As a goal scorer, he’s paying +140, and his assists over/under is 1.5.

Earlier in this series, McDavid was paying +500 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Going into Game 7, he’s paying -2500. At one time, Panthers goaltender Bobrovsky was the favorite. He’s now a longshot at +7500.

Panthers forward Matthew Thachuk said, “It’s even right now. It doesn’t matter what has happened to get to this point. You forget everything that’s happened throughout this whole season.”

But the hockey world will not forget if the Panthers lose. For the rest of time, they will be talked about every time a team goes up 3-0 in a series. But if they win, for the rest of time, they will be Stanley Cup champions.

It all comes down to one game. Game 7.

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