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Oilers Avoid Elimination Once More, Defeat Panthers in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

SUNRISE, Fla.—Connor McDavid had two goals and two assists to add to his historic postseason, Evan Bouchard added three assists, and the Edmonton Oilers fended off elimination yet again by beating the Florida Panthers 5-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night.

Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, and Corey Perry also had goals for the Oilers, who scored the game’s first three goals—then held on late to cut Florida’s lead in the title series to 3-2. Goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 30 shots for the Oilers, and McDavid sealed it with an empty-net goal in the final seconds.

Evan Rodrigues and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist for Florida, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 19 shots for Florida, which will see its 30-years-and-counting wait for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title last at least three more days.

Game 6 is set for Edmonton on Friday night.

The four points gave McDavid 42 in these playoffs, the fourth-most in a single postseason in NHL history. The only players ahead of him are the ones everyone would expect: Wayne Gretzky had 47 points in 1985, Mario Lemieux had 44 in 1991, and Gretzky had 43 in 1988.

McDavid will have at least one—and, he hopes, two—games to add to that total. If there is a Game 7, it’ll be in Sunrise on Monday night.

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It was the first time in Panthers history that they played a home game with a chance to win the Cup. Another sellout crowd came, some paying more than $1,000 apiece for tickets on the secondary market. The crowd pushed Florida’s total attendance for the season beyond 1 million for the first time.

They came to see the trophy.

The Oilers just wouldn’t let it happen.

Edmonton came into the night having scored 10 of the series’ previous 11 goals—a 2-0 third-period advantage in its Game 3 loss, and then an 8-1 romp in Game 4.

And the Oilers picked up right where they left off, with an absolute clinic of special-teams hockey.

Game 5 started just as Game 4 did, with Edmonton getting a short-handed goal. Brown assisted it on Saturday night. He scored it unassisted in this one, and the Oilers were on their way. Florida took a penalty—interference by Niko Mikkola—as time expired in the first period, and it proved costly.

Hyman made it 2-0 with two seconds left in the second-period-opening power play, and McDavid pushed Edmonton’s lead to 3-0 from a ridiculously tough angle that he made look easy three minutes later.

The three-goal lead has been insurmountable in the Stanley Cup Final for almost two decades. No team has lost after leading by three in a title-series game since Edmonton against Carolina in 2006. Every team since then, 39-0 in such games.

Make it 40-0. But the Panthers made it interesting.

It was 4-2 by the end of the second, Tkachuk and Rodrigues sandwiching goals around Perry’s first of the playoffs, which was set up by a brilliant pass from McDavid. Ekman-Larsson scored early in the third, but the equalizer never came. Skinner stood tall, time and again, and sent the series back to his hometown for Game 6.

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