scf gm2 edm column

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman combined for 145 goals during the regular season and 35 through the first three rounds of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They have zero through the first two games against the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final. In fact, through the first 120 minutes of play, the entire Oilers team has just one, that coming off the stick of a defenseman, Mattias Ekholm.

“Not going to win many games,” McDavid said when asked about the Oilers’ inability to put the puck in the net.

In this particular case, the Oilers haven’t won any in this best-of-7 series and find themselves trailing this matchup 2-0 heading to Edmonton for Game 3 at Rogers Place on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, TVAS, SN).

After being shut out 3-0 in the opener, Edmonton finally managed to beat goalie Sergei Bobrovsky at 11:17 of the first period of Game 2 Monday to open the scoring, snapping a 71:17 scoreless drought in the Final. That was all the offense they could muster, however, while the Panthers responded with four straight goals en route to a well-earned 4-1 victory.

Coach Kris Knoblauch, citing the fact that his team clanked three goal posts, rejected the suggestion that his best players have not played as advertised and said he was pleased with how his top performers have fared.

Draisaitl wasn’t. Anything but.

“We can certainly be better, and it starts with me,” said Draisaitl, who still is looking for his first point in the series after accruing 28 (10 goals, 18 assists) in the first two rounds. “There's certainly a lot more to give.”

SCF, Gm2: Oilers @ Panthers Recap

Already down two games in the series, the Oilers center is running out of time to do just that.

“Not my best tonight,” he said. “Obviously owning that. We’ll regroup and make sure it'll be better in Game 3.”

Through the first two periods, McDavid and Draisaitl were the only Edmonton forwards to have registered a shot on Bobrovsky. As a team, they had just five through the first 29:20 of the game. Certainly not the recipe for success.

Hyman, who came into the series as the leading goal-scorer this postseason with 14, is, like Draisaitl, pointless in the series. He’s only had four shots and is minus-3.

“They played better than we did,” he said. “We didn't have as many looks (as Game 1). We weren't playing with enough pace, they were controlling the play for the majority of the game.

“You’ve got to find a way to score.”

Especially on the once-lethal power play, which is sputtering.

Prior to the Final, no team in the postseason was more efficient than the Oilers with the man advantage (19-for-51). Thus far versus the Panthers: 0-for-7.

“We have to work our way out of it,” McDavid said. “It always starts with work with our group.

“They are a unique penalty kill just like they are a unique team. They’re aggressive. We have to have guys ready to get the puck. We’ve got to have guys making good plays.

“You’ve got to be able to string together good plays and we haven’t been able to do that.”

Nor have their big guns been able to produce. Their top four aforementioned forwards have one point as the series shifts to Rogers Place, that being a McDavid assist.

Hardly the blueprint to follow in the quest for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship since 1990.

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