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Florida penalty kill shows up in Game 1 vs Edmonton. And could Panthers host an outdoor game?

The Florida Panthers’ penalty kill has been tested all playoffs and for the most part has managed to be successful. The group did its part to minimize both the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers’ high-octane power play units in earlier rounds of the postseason.

And in its first test of the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers, the group came up strong once again. Florida held Edmonton 0 for 3 on the power play in Game 1 on Saturday, a 3-0 Panthers win at Amerant Bank Arena.

According to the advanced hockey statistics website Natural Stat Trick, the Oilers had 14 shot attempts and nine scoring chances, including five high-danger chances, during their three power plays. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all six Edmonton shots that got to the net, three of which were classified as high-danger shots.

“On the kill, Bob made the saves when he had to,” Panthers forward Sam Reinhart said. “They’ve got probably the best power play in the league for the last couple of years. So they’re so dynamic. If you’re a little tentative and give them a little bit of room, they’re going to make the same plays. So we’ve got to just stay aggressive and make the reads.”

The Oilers entered the Stanley Cup Final having scored on 37.3 percent of their power-play opportunities in the postseason. Of those six shots on goal, just two came from Leon Draisaitl and one from Connor McDavid. The Panthers blocked five of Edmonton’s shot attempts.

“It’s a big challenge for us,” forward Eetu Luostarinen said. “They have a really good power play. They can make plays and have a lot of looks. We have to control the inside ice.”

Panthers in an outdoor game?

The Panthers still have not played in an outdoor game, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he would like to see them play in one in the near future.

Could that happen in their own backyard?

loanDepot park, home of the Miami Marlins, is a viable option considering is “has a roof and is air conditioned.”

“I have not been there, but I hear it’s very nice,” Bettman said Saturday. “I’m not going to break any news today, but we are mindful of the fact that at some point it would be good for the Panthers to be in an outdoor game. We continue to explore options.’’

The Marlins have expressed interest in potentially hosting a Panthers game dating back to last year. A team spokesperson confirmed to the Miami Herald on Sunday that the interest is still there and that there have been talks about hosting a Panthers game at loanDepot park.

He said it

“Obviously, it’s a challenge. You can see when he’s walking around and coming at you that you need to try to keep your legs moving. The key is to play tight with all five guys and trying to bump him when we can. He’s gonna make plays and sometimes he’ll dangle you but that’s why we have a Bobby.” - Panthers defenseman Niko Mikkola on the challenge of facing Connor McDavid. and the benefit of having goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in net.

This and that

Carter Verhaeghe scored his 10th goal of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs, one shy of Matthew Tkachuk’s franchise record for most in a postseason (11 in 2023). Verhaeghe’s goal was also the 25th playoff goal of his career, the most in franchise history.

Evan Rodrigues and Eetu Luostarinen each scored his first career Stanley Cup Final goal on Saturday

With two assists, Aleksander Barkov registered his club-record ninth career multi-assist playoff game, including his fifth this postseason. It was also his 16th multi-point playoff game, also the club mark. Barkov’s career-high 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists) this postseason are tied with Matthew Tkachuk for the team lead in the 2024 playoffs.

Sam Bennett tallied an assist on Rodrigues’ goal to extend his point streak to four games. He led all skaters on Saturday in the game with 11 hits, one shy of the club postseason record (12, by Radko Gudas on May 18, 2023 at Carolina).

Brandon Montour logged an assist on Rodrigues’ goal to reach 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the 2024 postseason. Montour also recorded 13 points in 2023, making him the first defenseman in franchise history with a double-digit point total in multiple postseasons.