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The Florida Panthers have a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final after a 3-0 shutout win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. On the strength of a phenomenal performance from Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida is just three wins away from its first championship in franchise history.

Bobrovsky played one of the best games of his 14-year career in Game 1. He stopped all 32 shots the Oilers threw his way, and many of those were quality scoring chances. Bobrovsky denied two breakaways in the first period alone, and he really stood on his head in the second period, when Edmonton's lethal power play was throwing everything at him.

The Panthers didn't have their best offensive game on Saturday, but they were able to manufacture enough offense to come away with the win. Carter Verhaeghe scored his team-leading 10th goal of the playoffs just 3:59 into the game, and Evan Rodrigues finished a beautiful play from Sam Bennett to make it a 2-0 game.

Eetu Luostarinen found the back of an empty net with four seconds remaining to seal the deal for the Panthers.

The Oilers had their chances in Game 1. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combined for 10 shots on goal, and that's usually a recipe for success, but not when Bobrovsky is playing at a Conn Smythe level. Edmonton will have to figure out a way to make life even tougher on the Panthers' netminder in Game 2.

Panthers vs. Oilers Stanley Cup Final schedule

All times Eastern | *if necessary

  • Game 1 -- Panthers 3, Oilers 0 | Recap
  • Game 2 -- Oilers at Panthers: Monday, June 10, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC
  • Game 3 -- Panthers at Oilers: Thursday, June 13, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC
  • Game 4 -- Panthers at Oilers Saturday, June 15, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC
  • Game 5* -- Oilers at Panthers: Tuesday, June 18, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC
  • Game 6* -- Panthers at Oilers: Friday, June 21, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC
  • Game 7* -- Oilers at Panthers: Monday, June 24, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC

Panthers vs. Oilers odds

  • Series winner: Panthers -135, Oilers +115
  • Game 1: Panthers -139, Oilers +117

Series predictions, picks

Chris Bengel: The Panthers battled through quite a bit of adversity early on in the Eastern Conference Final. In fact, the Rangers held a 2-1 series lead following an overtime victory in Game 3. However, Florida closed out the series about as strong as a team could with three consecutive wins to take the series.

As was the case throughout the Panthers' 2023 Stanley Cup run, star forward Matthew Tkachuk has excelled throughout the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tkachuk leads the team in points (19) as he's tallied five goals and 14 assists thus far. On top of Tkachuk, the Panthers possess an abundance of depth among their top-six forwards, including Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe in addition to Tkachuk. Bennett really showed up in the final three games of the Rangers series as he is currently riding a three-game goal streak. 

While the offensive firepower can often be the theme when it comes to the Panthers, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been playing out of his mind throughout the postseason. Bobrovsky has tallied a 12-5-0 record to go along with a 2.20 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage. The 35-year-old has also allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 11 playoff games, including in all but one contest during the Eastern Conference Final. According to Money Puck, Bobrobsky owns a .960 save percentage when he's faced unblocked shots throughout the postseason.

Bobrovsky is certainly going to have to be at his best for the Panthers to hoist the Stanley Cup. The Oilers have been arguably the most lethal offensive team of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that's to be expected when a team has the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on its roster. 

Having to contend with one of the world's top players in McDavid on a nightly basis won't be an easy task, but I think Bobrovsky will be up to the challenge. This will likely be a back-and-forth series and could easily go seven games. Ultimately, I trust the Panthers' goaltending and star power a little bit more, and I believe they'll win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Pick -- Panthers beat Oilers, 4-3

Austin Nivison: The Oilers rely heavily on a core of about six players with Connor McDavid leading the way as the best hockey player on this rotating rock. Including McDavid, Edmonton has five players with at least 18 points in these playoffs. No one else has more than eight. When the Oilers' top players are rolling, as they have been all postseason, they are almost invulnerable. The big question is whether they can keep it going against Florida's defense.

Edmonton has held its own defensively in these playoffs, but the vast majority of that work has been done by Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard. Those two have combined for a plus-9 goal differential at five-on-five, per Natural Stat Trick. Without those two in the game, that goal differential plummets to minus-12.

The Panthers use their phenomenal depth and suffocating team defense to squeeze the life out of teams. The Panthers have allowed just 2.24 goals against per game in the playoffs. That stinginess is due, at least in part, to the efforts of Selke Trophy winner Aleksander Barkov and the top defensive pair of Gustav Forsling and Aaron Ekblad. Expect McDavid to get very familiar with those three, and while he has dominated tough matchups through the first three rounds, this will be something akin to a final boss challenge for him.

Of course, the Panthers aren't all defense all the time. Matthew Tkachuk remains one of the best power forwards in the game today, and he leads Florida with 19 points. Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe fill out the top-six with some nice scoring pop too.

Special teams won the day for the Oilers in the last round, and they will have an edge in that department again. Their power play has converted on 37.3% of its opportunities, and the penalty kill has killed off 28 consecutive power play chances for its opponents. The Panthers are no slouches on special teams, but they aren't quite that good.

Florida should be able to make up for that special teams deficit with a slight advantage in goal. Sergei Bobrovsky has been solid for the Panthers in these playoffs, posting a .908 save percentage, but he has shown the ability to play at an elite level. On the other side, Stuart Skinner came on strong in the conference final after struggling in the second round. Which version of Skinner shows up in this series will be an X-factor.

This Stanley Cup Final matchup is a toss-up featuring teams built in different ways. Ultimately, the Panthers' depth and defense will win out against a high-powered but top-heavy Oilers team. Pick -- Panthers beat Oilers, 4-2

So who wins Oilers vs. Panthers, and which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the money line to jump on Saturday, all from the expert who is up over $1,400 in his last 72 NHL against-the-spread picks, and find out.