Oilers’ Mattias Ekholm Says Team Can Make Historic Stanley Cup Rally vs. Panthers

Oilers’ Mattias Ekholm Says Team Can Make Historic Stanley Cup Rally vs. Panthers
Julia StumbaughJune 14, 2024

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 10: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) scores on a breakaway opportunity in the first period during game two of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers on Saturday, June 10, 2024 at Amerant Bank Area in Sunrise, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Edmonton defenseman Mattias Ekholm believes that the Oilers can become the first NHL team in 82 years to recover from a 3-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final.

“I feel like through three games, have we deserved to win a game? I think so. I think we’ve played two at least pretty good games,” Ekholm said Friday, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “It hasn’t happened for us, but it is four games.

“We had stretches of eight games and 16 games throughout the regular season. We won three straight against Dallas. So we can do it. It’s a matter of just finding that first win and go from there.”

The Oilers launched a late comeback attempt Thursday but couldn’t find the tying goal in Game 3, conceding a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers at home.

Edmonton is now 0-5 against Florida this season, including two regular-season regulation losses.

The only team to ever recover from an 0-3 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, a team led by Syl Apps to a historic rally against the Detroit Red Wings.

A reverse sweep has only ever been completed three other times in the history of the NHL playoffs. The most recent recovery was in 2014, when Jonathan Quick backstopped the Los Angeles Kings to a first-round comeback against the San Jose Sharks. The Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Oilers outshot the Panthers in Games 1 and 3, and have overall put up 86 shots to the Panthers’ 70 through three games. Ekholm himself scored the opening goal of Game 2 to give Edmonton its first lead of the series.

But defensive snafus and struggles from Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner meant the Oilers couldn’t hold onto that early advantage.

Edmonton has overall been held to just four goals through three games, with stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have yet to score against Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky’s .953 save percentage ranks as the sixth-highest recorded through the first three games of a Stanley Cup Final in NHL history, per TSN’s SportsCentre.

The Oilers’ hopes of a comeback will center on McDavid figuring out how to beat Bobrovsky, while Draisaitl looks to snap his first three-game stretch without a point since March 2020.

Ekholm isn’t the only Edmonton player who has professed his belief the series could go to seven games. Wyshynski reported that Skinner, as well as forwards Corey Perry and Zach Hyman, all said they believed the Oilers could launch a historic comeback when the puck drops in Edmonton for Game 4 Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

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