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Evan Rodrigues, Panthers have big third period, down Oilers in Game 2

Evan Rodrigues, Panthers have big third period, down Oilers in Game 2 thumbnail
Evan Rodrigues scored twice in the third period to break a deadlock and the Florida Panthers claimed a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in Sunrise, Fla., in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Fin

Evan Rodrigues scored twice in the third period to break a deadlock and the Florida Panthers claimed a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in Sunrise, Fla., in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Florida now leads the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 3 is set for Thursday in Edmonton.

Niko Mikkola and Aaron Ekblad also scored for the Panthers, who emphatically erased a 1-0 deficit. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 18 saves.

Mattias Ekholm had the lone goal for the Oilers, who managed only seven shots on target through the first two periods. Goalie Stuart Skinner stopped 24 shots.

Florida now has history on its side, as 49 of the 54 teams to previously win the first two games of the finals have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.

However, the victory may have come at a high cost for the Panthers, who lost captain Aleksander Barkov in the third period. Barkov took a forearm to the jaw from Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl and did not return to the game.

With the score tied 1-1, Rodrigues gave the Panthers their first lead of the contest 3:11 into the third period. Edmonton defenseman Evan Bouchard coughed up a turnover to Rodrigues in the slot, and Rodrigues quickly ripped a shot through a screen.

Rodrigues added a power-play marker at 12:26 while driving to the net, redirecting Anton Lundell’s pass for his sixth goal of the playoffs and third of the finals. The Oilers had killed 34 consecutive power plays before Rodrigues found the back of the net.

Ekblad’s empty-net goal, his first tally of the 2024 postseason, with 2:28 remaining in regulation sealed the victory.

Despite Florida controlling the bulk of the play, Ekholm gave Edmonton its first lead of the series when he opened the scoring at 11:17 of the first period. Ekholm elected to shoot during an odd-man rush and came away with his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Mikkola drew the Panthers even at the 9:34 mark of the second with his second goal of the postseason.