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McDavid, Oilers avoid sweep, crush Panthers 8-1 in Game 4 of Stanley Cup final

Florida leads best-of-seven series 3-1, hosts Game 5 Tuesday
Florida Panthers’ Vladimir Tarasenko (10) and Edmonton Oilers’ Mattias Ekholm (14) battle for the puck during first period Game 4 action of the NHL Stanley Cup final in Edmonton on Saturday June 15, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Oilers still have life in the Stanley Cup final.

Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists as Edmonton thumped visiting Florida 8-1 on Saturday to cut the Panthers’ lead in the best-of-seven title series to 3-1.

Dylan Holloway, with two goals and an assist, Mattias Janmark, with a goal and an assist, Adam Henrique, Darnell Nurse, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan McLeod also scored for the Oilers, who finally solved Sergei Bobrovsky by putting five pucks past the Panthers netminder on 16 shots before he was pulled in the second period.

Stuart Skinner made 32 saves. Leon Draisaitl, with his first points of the series, and Zach Hyman had two assists each.

Vladimir Tarasenko replied for the Panthers. Florida will have another chance to clinch in Game 5 on Tuesday at home in Sunrise, Fla. Anthony Stolarz stopped 17 shots in relief.

Edmonton, meanwhile, is looking to become just the fifth team in NHL history — and the second in the final, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs — to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

The Oilers picked up their first victory in the championship round since June 17, 2006, after feeling they had played well enough to be leading against Florida despite losses of 3-0, 4-1 and 4-3.

Turnovers and mental errors at inopportune times, along with an inability to figure out Bobrovsky, put Edmonton in that deep hole.

The Oilers started what they hope will be a long climb Saturday.

Janmark opened the scoring at 3:11 of the first with his third goal of the playoffs — and second short-handed effort this spring — with Nurse in the box for tripping.

Connor Brown appeared to run out of room on a 2-on-1, but slid the puck in front for Janmark to chip it into the open net with Bobrovsky taken out by sliding Florida defenceman Brandon Montour.

The early breakthrough came moments after Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart both hit the post at the other end of the rink on the power play.

Edmonton fell to 0-for-11 on the man advantage in the series, but Henrique made it 2-0 at 7:48 with his third off a pass from Janmark as Rogers Place erupted into a euphoric sea of blue and orange.

Tarasenko got one back on a deflection at 11:26 with his fifth before Skinner robbed Carter Verhaeghe on a 2-on-1 with the Oilers on their heels.

But the home side grabbed the momentum back when Draisaitl found Holloway for him to beat Bobrovsky with his fourth at 14:48.

Edmonton, which is looking to become the first Canadian team to win the Cup since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, scored three times on 10 shots after the Panthers goaltender stopped 82 of 86 attempts through the first three games.

McDavid made it 4-1 at 1:13 of the second when he ripped his first of the series past Bobrovsky’s blocker as fans mocked the veteran netminder.

READ MORE: Panthers hang on to beat Oilers 4-3, take 3-0 lead in Stanley Cup final

Nurse stretched the lead to four when he blasted his first of the post-season at 4:59 off a McDavid setup, ending Bobrovsky’s night, after a bad Florida change.

Stolarz steadied things, but the Panthers, who lost in the final in both 1996 and last spring in their only other trips, took two penalties on the same scrum when both Tkachuk and Sam Bennett went after McDavid.

Nugent-Hopkins swatted home a loose puck on the ensuing 5-on-3 power play at 13:03 to break Edmonton’s man-advantage goose egg after Draisaitl took the initial shot.

Holloway made it 7-1 off another McDavid setup — his 38th point this spring — with his fifth at 14:11.

The assist gave McDavid a jaw-dropping 32 in these playoffs to pass Wayne Gretzky for the most in one post-season in NHL history.

McLeod rounded out the scoring 2:30 later with his third before the party started in the streets around Rogers Place as the Oilers finally pushed back against the Panthers.

And bought themselves at least one more game.


Canadian pop country icon Shania Twain played a free show outside Rogers Place before puck drop.


Oilers winger Evander Kane (sports hernia) sat for a second straight game. Both teams went with the same lineups as Game 3.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press