© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

After blowing 3-0 lead, Panthers are back in Sunrise for a final chance at first Stanley Cup

Florida Panthers players acknowledge cheers from the fans at the end of the third period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee
/
AP
Florida Panthers players acknowledge cheers from the fans at the end of the third period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The deciding Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final will be played Monday night in Florida, where the Panthers host the Edmonton Oilers. Florida won the first three games only to see Edmonton storm back and stave off elimination three times to knot the series. Florida is trying to win its fist championship and avoid blowing a 3-0 lead in the final. Only Detroit in 1942 has done that. Edmonton is trying to win its sixth title overall. A Canadian team has not won the Cup since 1993, the longest drought in the history of a nation considered the birthplace of the sport.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — A perk of being the captain of an NHL team is this: If your team wins a championship, you get perhaps the ultimate honor in the sport.

You get to be the player who accepts the Stanley Cup on the ice after the game.

Will it be Connor McDavid on behalf of the Edmonton Oilers, seeking their sixth title but first since 1990? Will it be Aleksander Barkov on behalf of the Florida Panthers, seeking the first title in franchise history? The answer comes Monday night, when the Oilers and Panthers play Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final that was all Florida at the start, all Edmonton ever since, and now one last game will decide everything.

"Obviously, it's not your ordinary game," said McDavid, who is generally considered the best player in hockey right now and is likely the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. "Everybody understands that. But you've got to make it as ordinary as possible in your head."

It will not be an ordinary game. It's Game 7, the last game of the season and the capper of a series that has been bonkers; Florida won the first three games, then Edmonton won the next three games — all of them handily, too — to keep staving off elimination.

The stakes couldn't be higher.

Florida is trying to avoid becoming the second team in NHL history to take a 3-0 lead in the title series and not win the Stanley Cup; Detroit wasted such a lead against Toronto in 1942.

Edmonton is trying to become the first team based in Canada to win the Cup since 1993, an issue of such national importance north of the border that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote "All of Canada's behind you. Let's bring the Cup home" to the Oilers on social media as the series was getting underway. It is the longest drought for Canada in Cup history.

"We won three, they won three," Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said. "Both teams have an opportunity. ... Very exciting. Kind of leave-it-all-out-there, desperation on both sides. It all comes down to this."

When the game ends, the Cup will be brought to the ice. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will say a few words, then present it to the winning captain before he skates away to start the celebration with the newly crowned champions.

Will it be McDavid? Will it be Barkov? The moment they have dreamed about since they started putting on skates as little kids is here, and only one of them will capture it on Monday night.

"It comes down to this last one," Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour said, "and it's going to be a fun one."

___

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

More On This Topic