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The Florida Panthers will host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night to kick off the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Can Matthew Tkachuk propel the Panthers to a strong start in Game 1? JT Miller provides his prediction and pick for the opening matchup of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.
ANALYSIS

Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers Prediction: Can Matthew Tkachuk, Panthers Dominate in Stanley Cup Game 1?

Finally, it is here! The 2024 Stanley Cup Finals will begin on Saturday night as the Edmonton Oilers are set to do battle with the Florida Panthers, and this series should be absolutely electric. These are tremendous squads and among the top of the list for contenders from their respective conferences, and I could not ask for a better finals matchup.

OILERS VS. Panthers GAME 1 DATE, TIME, AND WHERE TO WATCH

  • Date: June 8, 2024
  • Start Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: ABC, ESPN+

Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers Prediction

Edmonton returns to the last dance for the first time since 2006 when they lost in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. It will be the first cup appearance for the new era of the Oilers led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who look to bring to bring Lord Stanley back to Alberta for the first time since 1990.

On the flip side, the Cats will be looking for redemption after they lost in the Stanley Cup Final last year to the Vegas Golden Knights. This is just the third finals appearance for Florida, and this squad is looking to bring the cup home for the first time in franchise history.

Game 1 is important - not as important as games two and three are, but still important. A chance to step ahead on home ice for one squad while the other is looking to steal a game and hopefully momentum. Both of these squads are fantastic and I expect an excellent series but as you all know, I am on Florida to win this thing, and the reasons persist now months later.

Edmonton has an electric duo up top with great supporting cast members like Hyman and Bouchard, but outside of that, Florida is deeper everywhere. While I wouldn't be inclined to say Florida has anyone better than McDavid, no one in the league does in my opinion. The superstar is a huge piece of the puzzle and him and the guys I mentioned will need to have a terrific series to secure this thing, but I think Florida is built better for it. They are deeper at forward with Verhaeghe, Barkov, Tkachuk, Bennett, Reinhart, Tarasenko; the list goes on and on. They also are deeper defensively and the entire squad plays sound, defensive hockey. Stuart Skinner has been better as of late, but Sergei Bobrovsky is still the better netminder.

Experience isn't everything, but it matters a lot here. The Cats have all of it, returning nearly the entire squad from a year ago. Edmonton can win it but that will take seven games if they do in my opinion, Florida is built to win this thing and with 12/16 down, I am sticking with them.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers Pick

Pick: Florida ML -135 Click here to see which sportsbook has the best odds

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Article Author

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Born and raised in St. Louis, JT is a young gun in the industry but has already established himself as one of the sharpest. Some refer to him as the "King of the Ice" as a result of his dominance in the NHL, which has been his claim to fame. However, he also excels in other markets including the NFL, MLB, and NCAAF. You can follow JT on Twitter at @RickyBobbyBets.

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