Panthers Secure First Stanley Cup After Narrow Game 7 Win Over Oilers

Aleksander Barkov hoists the Stanley Cup

In a dramatic conclusion to the 2024 Stanley Cup Finals, the Florida Panthers emerged victorious over the Edmonton Oilers with a 2-1 win in Game 7. This triumph marks the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. The Panthers’ captain, Aleksander Barkov, also made history by becoming the first Finnish captain to hoist the Stanley Cup, etching his name in hockey trivia history.

Photo Source: Dave Sandford/Getty Images.

The Oilers, known for their high-powered offense, mounted a fierce comeback but fell short. In the final minutes of the game, Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman had prime opportunities to equalize. With goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky down on the ice and out of position, Florida’s defense collapsed towards Edmonton’s forwards and the front of the net, preventing them from getting a shot off. This helped Florida secure the historic win.

Connor McDavid Wins Conn Smythe Trophy

Despite the loss, Connor McDavid’s outstanding performance throughout the playoffs was recognized. McDavid won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the 2024 NHL Playoffs MVP. McDavid was the favourite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy since the 1st Round. He became the first player since Jean-Sébastien Giguère in 2003 to win the award from the losing team. However, McDavid chose not to come out and receive the trophy. McDavid was asked about the Conn Smythe Trophy win following the game.

“It’s an honor,” he said, pausing to reflect on the gravity of the achievement. “With the names on that trophy… But, yeah.” His voice trailed off, expressing his sadness and disappointment at the Oilers falling just short of a Stanley Cup championship.

Connor McDavid speaks to the media following Conn Smythe Trophy win

Historical Playoff Run for Oilers Ends in Heartbreak

Zach Hyman had a phenomenal playoff run, finishing as the leader in goal-scoring with 16 goals. He surpassed Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for the most goals in a single postseason during the salary cap era. Connor McDavid led the playoffs in scoring with 41 points, the third-highest total in NHL history for a single postseason. Only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have had more points. The Oilers’ remarkable resilience saw them become just the 10th team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after being down 3-0 in a series. Sadly, they fell just short in the end. The Stanley Cup drought for Canada continues.

Former Sabres Shine in Stanley Cup Glory

Sam Reinhart scored the game-winning goal for the Panthers, continuing the trend of former Buffalo Sabres finding success. Reinhart’s achievement follows in the footsteps of other notable former Sabres. Jack Eichel won the Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2023, and Ryan O’Reilly lifted the cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. This trend underscores that valuable players can find success after many years of challenges with a previous team.

Roberto Luongo Finally Wins First Stanley Cup

The Panthers’ victory was a first not only for the franchise but also for many of its key veterans and members. Head coach Paul Maurice, after nearly three decades and 1,985 games in the NHL, finally captured his first Stanley Cup. Longtime NHL forward Kyle Okposo, after 1,051 regular season games, also celebrated his first championship. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, at 35, cemented his legacy with his first Stanley Cup. He solidified his status as a future Hall of Famer.

Roberto Luongo hugs Sergei Bobrovsky after Florida Panthers win 2024 Stanley Cup

Vancouver fans were elated after former goaltender Roberto Luongo finally experienced the joy of winning the Stanley Cup. Luongo has been Special Advisor to the General Manager with Florida since 2019. He came heartbreakingly close in 2011 with the Vancouver Canucks, losing in seven games to the Boston Bruins.

Reflecting on the support from Vancouver, Luongo expressed his gratitude: “I just want to thank especially the people of Vancouver for their support. I’ve received a lot of messages over the last two months. People are rooting for me, so I’m truly grateful for that. I always enjoy going back there. I look forward to going back there next season.”

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