EDM depth players GM5

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Edmonton Oilers are looking for another strong performance from their role players in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC) to drag the best-of-7 series back to Alberta.

Forwards Mattias Janmark, Connor Brown, Adam Henrique, Dylan Holloway and Ryan McLeod were all instrumental in helping Edmonton extend the series, combining for eight points in an 8-1 win in Game 4, and will need to be effective again to keep Florida from celebrating its first Stanley Cup championship on home ice Tuesday.

"They were great the other night, they've been great all playoff long," Oilers captain Connor McDavid said Tuesday morning. "You need everybody, you need everybody to be playing and what they've been doing -- not only on the penalty kill, the penalty kill has been great -- but 5-on-5, they've been great too."

Janmark was the catalyst in Game 4, scoring the opening goal and setting up the second as the Oilers were able to unlock goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and chase him early in the second period after scoring five goals on 16 shots.

Bobrovsky was a big reason Florida took a 3-0 lead in the series making 32 saves in Games 1 and Game 3 where the Panthers were outshot 32-18, and 35-23 respectively.

"You need everybody to be playing well, you need everybody to be defending hard and producing," McDavid said. "Scoring goals is part of the game and it helps a lot when those guys are doing that."

Myers, Van Diest, Zeisberger preview Gm5 of the SCF

To stave off elimination again, McDavid said Edmonton is going to need all hands on deck and can't simply rely on its top two lines and high-end players to do all the heavy lifting offensively.

Getting production from the bottom half of the lineup helps loosen the reins on McDavid, Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

"Throughout the playoffs, they've been really big for us, whether it's on the penalty kill or 5-on-5 minutes," Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. "Rico (Henrique) hasn't shown up as much offensively through the playoffs that he had in the regular season and a lot of that had to do with his injury (sprained ankle) and now he's doing a lot better. He's obviously feeling a lot quicker and making better plays."

Henrique will be back between Janmark and Brown on Edmonton's third line. After scoring short-handed, Janmark set up Henrique, which got things rolling for Edmonton offensively.

"Definitely those three (Janmark, Henrique, Brown) have been really good and also you look at our fourth line, Derek Ryan has been a big part of our penalty kill," Knoblauch said. "We've been getting a lot of attention of how good our penalty kill has been (93.6 percent), Derek Ryan is a big part of that and so has McLeod, and McLeod has two goals in his last two games, so we're very comfortable with our depth."

In times of need, Knoblauch has turned to his role players to make key contributions throughout the playoffs. Against the Vancouver Canucks in the second round, Knoblauch leaned on his bottom two lines in Game 6 and 7 of the series to take some of the burden off his top players and it paid off.

The Oilers' depth was counted on again in the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars.
"I think we believe in our depth and I think that the way our depth plays, too, is we try to grab momentum, we try to possess the puck and set it up for the big boys as well," Brown said.
"Maybe that doesn't show up on the scoresheet as much but in our room, we're very comfortable with the depth of this club, it's shown as the playoffs have gone on."

Brown in particular seems to be getting stronger and the playoffs have gone on. He sustained a knee injury four games into the 2022-23 season with the Washington Capitals, which required surgery.

Brown signed a one-year contract with the Oilers during the offseason and it took a while for him to find his stride. He was a healthy scratch in six of the first seven games of the playoffs, but has been a regular since Game 3 against the Canucks.

Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have been able to erase a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 series in the Final of the 28 teams in that position. The Oilers are looking at becoming the second but are not looking that far ahead.

"We're going to try to drag them back to Alberta," Brown said. "We love playing on home ice, this is going to be a difficult game and that being said, we feel confident in the type of game it's going to be, with that anticipation of getting back to Alberta."

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