Panthers Ready to Learn From Game 4 Beatdown, Remain Focused on Larger Goal

Panthers remain focused

Sunrise, FL – Coming into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, up three games to none against the Edmonton Oilers, the Florida Panthers were routed, 8-1, but they remain focused going into Game 5.

The Panthers haven’t played the way they did on Saturday often this year. For a team that prides itself on defense – and defending the rush, in particular – seven of the eight goals they allowed were on Edmonton rushes.

Snowball Effect

After taking a 3-0 series lead on Thursday, the Panthers had time to think about the possibility of lifting their first Cup in franchise history.

Every new experience presents opportunities that you didn’t have,” Maurice said. “So this was a new experience for us. I can say there’s some room to learn on it. We’re going to work really hard over the next few days to make sure we present that.

The Panthers didn’t look like themselves at all in what was the most lopsided loss of the season. 

The Oilers scored their first goal on the Panthers power play. Brandon Montour, defending a 2-on-1 rush, laid out on the ice the block a potential cross-crease pass, but wound up colliding with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Mattias Yanmark scored on the wide open net as Montour and Bobrovsky were still tangled up a few feet away.

I think that you start thinking about the energy that the game brings,” Maurice said. “It’s not even controlling it or harnessing it – I don’t know if you can. But you’re wired for the game right? Give up a shorty, some chances, like it’s going here and there. When it breaks on you, it hurts more. And so we were off our game after that. It’s the coach included, right? Not just the players.

It was a night in which even the Panthers’ top two defenseman in Aaron Ekblad and Gustav Forsling looked off. The pair were beat on a rush by Leon Draisaitl and Dylan Holloway for Edmonton’s third goal of the game.

Bobrovsky was pulled for Anthony Stolarz after allowing four goals – none of which were particularly his fault.

Learning From Every Moment

We either win or we learn,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “I think we learned a lot from this game.

It was a mantra that was repeated multiple times in the dressing room and at the podiums.

When we win, we learn from it and we put it aside,” Matthew Tkachuk said. “When we lose we do the same thing.

Maurice added: “Every new experience presents opportunities that you didn’t have. So this was a new experience for us. I can say there’s some room to learn on it. We’re going to work really hard over the next few days to make sure we present that.

Despite the brutal 8-1 look on the scoreboard, the Panthers still hold control over this series. Maurice and his players made sure to point out that they took both games at home and split their two games in Edmonton. Every team would sign up for that situation.

No Distractions

While the possibility of winning the Cup loomed over everyone’s heads, Barkov said it wasn’t a distraction.

We play for the Cup,” Barkov said. “Both teams play for the Cup. The Cup is going to be in the building at some point, anyway. So you have to be ready for that. I don’t think it was a distraction for us.

A Chance To Close It Out At Home

The silver lining is that the Panthers have an opportunity to lift the Cup at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

We’re in an unbelievable spot right now,” Tkachuk said. “Came here after all that craziness, got a split, and we’re going home in front of our unbelievable fans that are so excited to see us, and we’re so excited to play in front of them again.

As for Game 4, while Maurice didn’t explicitly say “burn the tapes”, he may have alluded to that idea when asked about the bigger names for Edmonton – Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – getting on the scoresheet for the first time this series.

They will have no part of my day tomorrow,” Maurice said. “I’m not counting the five-on-three. They’re good players and they scored and they should be able to get confidence from that. They’ll feel good. And then the puck is gonna drop. I’m not saying they aren’t gonna feel good in the next game. But, just, the puck drops and everything changes then. So we’re gonna rally, we’ll recoup, recover, move forward, get ready. Take 3-1 going home.

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