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Florida Panthers win Stanley Cup with 2-1 Game 7 win over Oilers

Edmonton fails to complete historic comeback after being down 3-0 in series
Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe (23) celebrates his goal with teammate Anton Lundell (15) after scoring on the Edmonton Oilers during first period game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals in Sunrise, Fla., on Monday, June 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Connor McDavid produced one of the greatest performances in NHL playoff history.

Despite the gaudy numbers, the Oilers superstar captain couldn’t push his team over the top — and the Panthers secured their first Stanley Cup.

Sam Reinhart scored the winner in Game 7 as Florida beat Edmonton 2-1 on a memorable Monday to take the title series 4-3.

Carter Verhaeghe added a goal and assist for the Panthers, who lost in the final in 1996 and again last spring. Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves. Head coach Paul Maurice, in his second season with Florida, won the Cup for the first time behind the bench.

Mattias Janmark replied for the Oilers. Stuart Skinner stopped 19 shots as the championship drought for Canadian-based teams now stands at 31 years dating back to the Montreal Canadiens’ victory in 1993.

The Panthers, meanwhile, avoided sports infamy by finally putting Edmonton away after allowing their 3-0 stranglehold in the series to wither away with the Cup on site for a fourth time.

The Oilers became the 10th team in 211 all-time opportunities in league history to fall behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven series before winning three straight to force a winner-take-all finale.



Edmonton was aiming to become the fifth club to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0 — and just the second in the final, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs some 82 years ago.

Oilers fans made the long trek to South Florida in the days ahead of an improbable Game 7, painting an orange-and-blue strip across the region before heading out to Amerant Bank Arena’s sprawling parking lots in Sunrise to tailgate in the hours ahead of puck drop.

“Let’s Go Oilers!” chants started more than 40 minutes before warm-ups as jersey-clad masses assembled along the glass and around the tunnel to the team’s locker room. Panthers supporters responded in kind with deafening noise of their own in the minutes before the opening faceoff.

The Panthers snapped a 1-1 tie at 15:11 of the second period after a breathtaking, back-and-forth six minutes of action when Reinhart fired a shot short side on Skinner for his 10th goal of the playoffs.

That breakthrough came after the Oilers had a number of chances at the other end. Edmonton also poured the pressure on Bobrovsky on an earlier power play, including an Evan Bouchard one-timer the veteran netminder — pulled in Game 4 and far from his best in the next two starts — swallowed up to roaring approval.

READ MORE: Montreal’s 1993 Stanley Cup champions watching Canada’s title drought

The Oilers tried to push in the third with plenty of zone time, but the Panthers protected Bobrovsky’s crease, including on great chances for McDavid and Zach Hyman, before spilling off the bench to celebrate.

Florida went ahead 1-0 in the NHL’s 18th all-time Game 7 in a final at 4:27 of the first when Verhaeghe tipped in his 11th moments after the Oilers killed off a penalty for the 47th time in the last 48 short-handed situations inside the crackling rink.

McDavid’s 42 points in the playoffs — including record-setting, back-to-back four-point performances in Game 4 and Game 5 — are the most ever by a player in a single post-season not named Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. He also set a playoff record with 34 assists, but was held off the scoresheet in the final two contests. He was still named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.



The Oilers, who last made the final in 2006 and last topped the NHL mountain in 1990, fell short in their quest for the franchise’s sixth Cup.

A team that had a disastrous start to the schedule, sat 32nd in the overall standings, and went through a November coaching change, pushed back with a 16-game winning streak and two other eight-game runs to not only make the playoffs, but finish second in the Pacific Division.

Edmonton disposed of the Los Angeles Kings in five games to open the post-season and the Vancouver Canucks in the second round despite trailing that series three times in an all-Canadian matchup that went the distance. The Oilers then fell behind the Dallas Stars 2-1 in the Western Conference final before winning three straight to take that matchup in six.

Despite being down 3-0 to Florida in the final following a 4-3 home loss on June 13, the Oilers felt they played well enough to be up 2-1 in series.

Head coach Kris Knoblauch confidently said before Game 4 he was looking forward to the next 10 days his team had together.

Edmonton backed up those words hours later with an 8-1 thumping of the Panthers, secured a gutsy 4-3 road victory in Game 5 to drag the Panthers back to Alberta where the Oilers picked up a 5-1 win Friday to force Monday’s winner-take-all finale.

They just couldn’t clear the final hurdle.


Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette sang the national anthems. Other celebrities in the building included former NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, and golfers Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.


Oilers winger Corey Perry lost in the final with a fourth team after winning in 2007 with Anaheim. The 39-year-old also suffered defeat with Dallas in 2020, Montreal in 2021, and Tampa Bay in 2022.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press