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SUNRISE, Fla. -- So much of the Florida Panthers’ success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs stems from their play in the third period.

So, it seemed appropriate it did again in their 4-1 win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday.

That they outscored Oilers 3-0 in the third period Monday stands out, but their path toward winning Game 2 -- and taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series -- began in the third period of their 3-0 victory in Game 1 on Saturday.

“I think how we played in the third period of the first game, we just kept going with that,” Panthers defenseman Niko Mikkola said. “That’s it. That’s the way we usually play.”

The Panthers led 2-0 after two periods in Game 1, despite being outshot 25-12, mostly because of the goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky, who covered up for numerous defensive breakdowns on his way to a 32-save shutout. In the third period, though, Florida got back to its grinding forecheck and tight-checking defensive game and, although it was outshot 7-6, closed out the victory confidently with an empty-net goal from Eetu Luostarinen.

The Panthers carried what they did in the third period into the start of Game 2, outshooting the Oilers 9-4. Although Edmonton took a 1-0 lead on Mattias Ekholm’s 4-on-4 goal at 11:17 of the first, Florida just kept coming in the second period.

The Panthers outshot the Oilers 13-3 in the second and tied the game 1-1 on Mikkola’s goal at 9:34. It looked much like the first three rounds of the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, when the Panthers gradually wore those teams out with their forecheck before breaking through in the third period.

So, Florida felt comfortable heading to the third tied 1-1.

“I think we're a confident bunch in how we play,” forward Kyle Okposo said. “We like to wear teams down. We like to grind it out and try to impose our will on the opposition, and I think we've done a pretty good job of that throughout the playoffs. We like to get it in and bang and grind it out and keep a tight gap and not let the other team breathe.”

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Evan Rodrigues scored with a snap shot from the left circle at 3:11 to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead that seemed secure given how well they were defending. He then made it 3-1 by driving to the net for a redirection on the power play at 12:26. Aaron Ekblad’s empty-net goal at 17:32 completed the perfect third period and put Florida in a strong position as it heads to Edmonton for Game 3 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, TVAS, SN).

“We just try to play the same game,” forward Matthew Tkachuk said. “It's not like we're trying to play a different game or try to shut it down or whatever -- just play really hard, play in your face, keep the gaps good, play simple, move your feet, get some hits.

“It's just all about moving our feet out there and I thought we did a really good job of that tonight.”

The Panthers have now outscored their opponents 28-11 in the third period this postseason, including 4-0 in the Cup Final. The Oilers have been outscored 23-12 in third periods in the playoffs.

After losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games in the Cup Final last season, the Panthers have followed their blueprint for success and are within two wins of lifting the Cup for the first time as a result.

“We've got two years of doing it,” coach Paul Maurice said. “We play tight games. We've always played tight, hard games. We don't necessarily score easily. That's not a function of not skill or talent, and the story in these playoffs we've seen some pretty fine goaltending. We never really got to the test in Game 1. That wasn't an issue. But it's experiential."

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