Stanley Cup Final Preview: Edmonton vs. Florida

Well, well, well, it’s about time we get to see the world’s best player in the Stanley Cup Final as Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers punched their ticket on Sunday evening. 

The Oilers have been playing their best brand of hockey, but they will be facing an absolute beast of a Florida Panthers team that was in the same position only a year ago.


This is the story of redemption for the Panthers, but the Oilers have the entire nation of Canada behind them as they seek to be the first team up North to win the Stanley Cup since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.

Edmonton at Florida

When you look at both of these rosters, the Edmonton Oilers undoubtedly have the better top-tier talent, but the Florida Panthers might just have the overall better depth. Depth is everything in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Oilers happen to be playing some outstanding hockey at the moment.

That said, the Panthers have gone through some incredibly talented goaltenders on their journey to the Stanley Cup Final as they took down Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jeremy Swayman and Igor Shesterkin. There is no denying the fact that Stuart Skinner will be the weakest net-minder they have faced to this point, but they also happen to face a version of Skinner that is heating up at the right time. 

In six games of the Western Conference Final, Skinner boasted a .923 save percentage with a 1.91 goals against average. He has won his last three games in a row, and in those contests, he only allowed four goals against a total of 77 shots faced. The Oilers are that much scarier if Skinner can maintain this consistency, but another area that has improved tremendously is Edmonton’s penalty kill.

The Oilers have now successfully killed off 29 straight penalties and were a perfect 100% in the Western Conference Final. The Panthers’ power play was successful against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, clicking at 26.3%, but they will now go up against the best kill in all of the playoffs. 

Special teams are important, but it’s not necessarily the Panthers bread-and-butter. The concern for Edmonton will be how they will answer the physical task of going up against the Panthers, who have some big and physical guys not only on their blue line but also up front. Gustav Forsling has been a player for the Panthers that has stepped up and defended very well against the Rangers, helping his team shut down Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, but those two players aren’t the same caliber as guys like McDavid and Draisaitl. 

It’s tough to bet against either of these teams right now, but finally feels like McDavid and Draisaitl’s year. They have gone through hell and back in their time with Edmonton and in the previous two postseasons, they have lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion. 

I think we have an incredible Final ahead of us and I see this one going the distance, but it will be the Oilers who are the eventual champions. Not taking the best player in the world at plus money feels wrong. The Cup is going back to Canada. 

NHL Best Bet(s): Edmonton Oilers to win the series +110 (play to +100)