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The Edmonton Oilers will try to steal Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Can the home team shut down Connor McDavid and the Oilers to build an early lead? Ben Rajavuori provides his prediction and pick in Oilers vs. Panthers Game 1.
ANALYSIS

Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers Best Bet: Can the Panthers Shut Down Connor McDavid, Oilers in Game 1?

The Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers meet in game one of the Stanley Cup finals in Amerant Bank Arena in Florida tonight.

The Panthers have been on a roll in the postseason, beating the Lightning in round one, the Bruins in round two, and the Presidents' Trophy winners, the New York Rangers, in the conference finals to get to this point. The Panthers made it to the finals last year and lost in five games to Vegas. They will be looking to avenge their loss and take home the cup this year for the first time in franchise history. This will be their third Stanley Cup finals appearance in team history.

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

The points leaders for Florida during the playoffs have been Matthew Tkachuk with 19 and Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe with 17. Tkachuk has been an assist machine, getting 14 assists in 17 postseason games so far. Carter Verhaeghe leads the Panthers with nine goals this postseason. The Oilers got here by beating the Kings in round one, Canucks in round two, and the Stars in the conference finals. They have been electrified by one of the most exciting duos in hockey, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers had one of the most successful power plays in NHL history during the regular season and kept that going through the playoffs. The Oilers will be looking to end a curse for Canadian hockey by winning their sixth Stanley Cup tonight in team history. They have not won since the 1989–90 season. This will be their first Stanley Cup final since the 2005–06 season.

To no one's surprise, the Oilers have been led by Connor McDavid in these playoffs with 31 points. Draisaitl is not far behind them with 28 and Evan Bouchard has 27. McDavid has the most assists in the postseason, sporting 26 assists in 18 games. Zach Hyman has been a goal-scoring machine, scoring 14 goals across 18 games.

At the end of the day, I think game one comes down to Florida having the home-ice advantage and Sergei Bobrovsky in net. Bobrovsky has been so good during these playoffs, as he is only allowing 2.2 goals per game and is sporting a 90.8% save rate. On the other side, Stuart Skinner has been struggling in the postseason. He’s only allowing 2.5 goals per game, but he hasn’t been facing that many shots. He has an 89% save rate that was below 88% before his stellar game six against the Stars last Sunday.

While the Oilers have one of the best power-plays in history, the Panthers' defense is good enough to keep them off the man advantage and Bobrovsky is one of the best goalies in the NHL right now. The Panthers have a much more balanced offense and are deeper at the bottom of their lines than the Oilers. I think game one is taken by Florida in a series that should be close and potentially go six or seven games.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers Pick

Pick: Panthers ML -130 Click here to see which sportsbook has the best odds

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Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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