Florida Panthers Pull Away in Third Period to Defeat Edmonton Oilers, Take Commanding 2-0 Lead in Stanley Cup Final

In a thrilling Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida, the Florida Panthers scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. This victory, powered by Evan Rodrigues’ two third-period goals, gives the Panthers a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

The Panthers’ win comes after a resilient performance, marking their second consecutive victory in the Final. Rodrigues expressed the team’s excitement and focus postgame: “It’s special. Trying to embrace it,” he said. “Trying to stay in the moment. It’s two big wins for our team, and I think we’ve already turned the page and we’re getting ready for Game 3.”

Edmonton started strong, with superstar Connor McDavid setting up Mattias Ekholm for the first goal of the game midway through the opening period. Ekholm’s shot beat Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole, putting the Oilers ahead on their first shot attempt.

However, the Panthers, who were outshot 32-18 in their Game 1 victory, dominated the shot count in this game, outshooting the Oilers 22-7 through the first two periods. Despite their efforts, Panthers struggled to beat Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner until Niko Mikkola found the back of the net in the second period, tying the game 1-1 with a well-placed one-timer.

The Panthers’ breakthrough came early in the third period. Rodrigues capitalized on a costly turnover by Evan Bouchard, firing a shot that deflected off Ekholm and into the net, giving Florida a 2-1 lead. Rodrigues extended the lead with a power-play goal, his second of the game and third of the series, ending Edmonton’s impressive streak of 34 consecutive penalty kills.

“I think our mentality changed in the third, where we stopped treating it like a power-play and started treating it like 5-on-5. They come with a lot of pressure and if we try to make a cute play, it’s never going to work,” Rodrigues said regarding the power-play success.

Rodrigues’ performance was historic, making him the first player in Panthers franchise history to score multiple goals in a Stanley Cup Final game. Aaron Ekblad sealed the victory with an empty-net goal, making the final score 4-1.

Despite the victory, the Panthers faced a setback when captain Aleksander Barkov left the game after taking a hit to the head from Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl. Barkov did not return, and Draisaitl was assessed a minor penalty for roughing.

Edmonton’s offensive struggles continued from Game 1, where they were shut out despite a high shot count. In Game 2, they managed only seven shots through the first two periods, tying a record for the fewest-ever in Stanley Cup Final history. The Oilers finished with 19 attempts, with Bobrovsky making 18 saves.

“We feel we came here and we played enough to get a split,” said Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch. “That doesn’t always happen. We just have to take it one game at a time. I don’t see any reason to panic or do anything drastic … We just have to win the next game.”

With a 2-0 series lead, the Panthers head to Edmonton for Game 3 on Thursday night, seeking to maintain their momentum and move closer to their first Stanley Cup victory.

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