The Florida Panthers are one win away from their first Stanley Cup title, while the Edmonton Oilers can at least take solace in making the Game 3 loss a close contest.

In just over six minutes, the Panthers scored three consecutive goals to turn a tie game into a commanding lead in the Stanley Cup Final. However, the Oilers fought back in the final minutes, scoring twice to cut the deficit to one. Ultimately, the Panthers secured a 4-3 win and a 3-0 series lead.

Only four teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in an NHL series, with the most recent being the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings. This feat has occurred only once in the Stanley Cup Final, when the Toronto Maple Leafs stunned the Detroit Red Wings in 1942.

Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in Edmonton (ABC). A Florida victory would mark the first Stanley Cup Final sweep since 1998 when the Detroit Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals.

The Panthers drew first blood in the first period when a scrum led to matching minor penalties for roughing, resulting in a 4-on-4 situation. Sam Reinhart scored with assists from Gustav Forsling and Aleksander Barkov. The Oilers equalized early in the second period with a breakaway goal by Warren Foegele, but that was the last moment of optimism for Edmonton.

First, Eetu Luostarinen intercepted a careless pass from Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner, who was caught out of position, allowing Vladimir Tarasenko to score on an open net. The Oilers’ defense began to crumble, and the Panthers took advantage. Sam Bennett then slipped behind the Edmonton defense for a goal, followed by Barkov scoring in a 2-on-1 situation.

The Oilers managed to get two goals back from Philip Broberg and Ryan McLeod but needed one more to avoid facing an even bigger comeback challenge for the series.

For most of the game, the Oilers’ star-studded offense was stifled by the Panthers’ top-tier defense, despite registering more shots, shots on goal, and power plays. Florida’s defensive dominance, backed by standout goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who remains the Conn Smythe Trophy favorite, proved too much for Edmonton. None of the Oilers’ top five point scorers from the regular season — Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Evan Bouchard, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — have scored a goal in this series.

While narrowing the deficit to one goal might offer some encouragement, the Oilers now face daunting odds. They are not the only ones feeling the heat this week.

Thursday was tough for the Oilers, but ABC and its parent company Disney also suffered. The network is currently airing both the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final, both of which are on the verge of uncompetitive sweeps. The Boston Celtics lead the Dallas Mavericks 3-0 after taking a substantial lead and holding off a comeback in Game 3, with a chance to finish the series in Game 4 on Friday.



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