Edmonton’s top players found life in Game 4. Should that concern the Panthers?

The Florida Panthers managed to keep the top players of the Edmonton Oilers at bay through the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s a big reason why they were able to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series and put themselves within one win of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.

In Game 4 on Saturday, with Edmonton’s season on the line, the Oilers’ stars shone brightest in an 8-1 rout of the Panthers at Rogers Place.

Connor McDavid scored his first goal of the series and had four points overall, with his three assists giving him 32 assists for the playoffs, breaking Wayne Gretzky’s 1988 record of 31 assists for most in a single postseason.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored his first goal of the series on a 5-on-3 power play. Zach Hyman and Leon Draisaitl each had two assists for their first points of the series. Dylan Holloway, playing on the second line with Nugent-Hopkins and Draisaitl, scored twice.

But how much will their performance impact the Panthers’ future, with Florida needing to win just one of the three possible remaining games and Edmonton needing to go a perfect 3 for 3?

Not much, according to Panthers coach Paul Maurice.

“They won’t be part of my day (Sunday),” Maurice said. “They are good players and they have scored and they have to take confidence from that. They will feel good. And then the puck will drop. I’m not saying they won’t feel good when the puck drops, but then everything changes. We’re going to rally. We’re going to recover, move on and get ready.”

This and that

The Panthers have allowed 35 shots on goal in each of the past two games. Prior to the two games in Edmonton, they had not allowed the opponent to take more than 32 shots on goal in any game this postseason and held the opponent to fewer than 30 shots on goal in 15 of the first 19 games.

Saturday marked the third time the Panthers gave up at least eight goals in a playoff game – and each of the other two instances also occurred in the Stanley Cup Final. The Vegas Golden Knights won the Cup last year with a 9-3 shellacking of Florida in Game 5. Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche crushed Florida in Game 2 of the 1996 series with an 8-1 win. en route to their four-game sweep that year.

The first goal of the game for the Oilers, from Mattias Janmark, came from shorthand. It was the fourth shorthanded goal the Panthers have allowed this postseason.