Panthers win first ever Stanley Cup, hold off Oilers 2-1 in Game 7

It's the franchise's first Stanley Cup win in three tries.


The two best words in sports favored the Florida Panthers on Monday.

The Panthers beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to become NHL champions.



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Florida struck first within the first five minutes, and, believe it or not, the goal marked its first lead since Game 3.

Right after a Florida power play concluded, Carter Verhaeghe tipped in an Evan Rodrigues shot attempt that Stuart Skinner couldn't react fast enough to.

But the Oilers didn't trail for long.

About two minutes after Florida's opener, Edmonton got on the breakaway and saw Mattias Janmark finish past Sergei Bobrovsky.

The goal marked the fifth straight time Edmonton scored on Bobrovsky on a breakaway, with Janmark scoring the fourth Game 7 goal of his career.

Florida reclaimed the lead in the second period. Just over 15 minutes in, Sam Reinhart somehow managed to beat Skinner and Co. from a tight angle on a breakaway.

Verhaeghe and Dmitry Kulikov were credited with the assist. Just before the goal, Kulikov somehow managed to protect his own net and fell into it before Reinhart capitalized the other way.

Edmonton completely dominated the final period, but Bobrovsky and Co. held on even after the Oilers went with an empty net for the final 1:10.

It marks Florida's first ever Stanley Cup win in three tries. It made the final in 1996 and just last season in 2023, but fell short both times. The third time was definitely the charm.

But, for three games, the momentum had completely evaporated from the Panthers' claws. Despite taking a commanding 3-0 series lead, Florida dropped Games 4, 5 and 6 to Edmonton, conceding 18 goals in those losses.

However, Bobrovsky, with his 23 of 24 saves in Game 7, made sure a historic collapse wouldn't transpire on his watch.

The Stanley Cup Final MVP went to Oilers star Connor McDavid, his first Conn Smythe Trophy despite the series loss.

Aleksander Barkov was given the honor to hoist Lord Stanley, becoming the first Finnish captain to do so.

For Edmonton, the wait for a sixth Stanley Cup win will continue. The Oilers won five titles in seven seasons from 1984 to 1990, and their last appearance in the final stage came in the 2006 playoffs.

Edmonton's loss also affects the entire country of Canada. A Canadian team hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens did so, but the 31-year drought will persist.

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