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“We’re not on Oprah Winfrey”: Paul Maurice won’t open up
Credit: Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Last night, the Florida Panthers took a 2-0 lead over the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Florida club really seems built to win the Stanley Cup. The club may be healthier than the Oilers (Darnell Nurse, Evander Kane, Corey Perry and Leon Draisaitl are among the players who aren’t 100%), but the playoff style lends itself to the Panthers’ way of playing.

And I’m not just talking about games like this.

In reality, Paul Maurice’s men, who changed/modified/adapted their identity two years ago by sending (among others) Jonathan Huberdeau to Alberta for Matthew Tkachuk, really do have a “hard to play against” team on the ice.

The proof? Only six of the Oilers’ shots yesterday were taken by forwards. Really?

  • Zach Hyman: one shot
  • Leon Draisaitl: two shots
  • Connor McDavid: three shots

And while the Oilers’ defensemen fired 13 shots on net, it clearly wasn’t enough to beat the Panthers, who fired 29 shots on net in Game #2.

When the goaltending duel is Stuart Skinner versus Sergei Bobrovsky at his best, it takes more.

The Oilers’ best players may know they need to give more, but the fact remains that their only play of note came on the bangs of a dangerous play. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

You’ve probably seen it: it was Leon Draisaitl’s hit on Aleksander Barkov, which came midway through the third period of the game. He got two minutes and… that was it.

Clearly, it was a dangerous move and we can’t believe the Panthers are happy to see it.

Paul Maurice, who didn’t have an update on his captain’s condition to offer the media after the game, was asked how he felt about it all… and he gave a Paul Maurice answer.

This isn’t the Oprah Winfrey show. My feelings don’t matter. – Paul Maurice

The question was asked because the journalist who asked the question sensed that Maurice was on the brakes when he answered. Clearly, he wasn’t wrong, when you see the coach’s answer.

I guess the pilot figured that his club was in the driver’s seat and that there was no point in publicly pouring oil (pun intended) on the fire. If that’s the case, hats off to the coach.

Still, I expect to see Panthers management pushing to see if Draisaitl deserves one more penalty. After all, the move could change the series for both teams, since Barkov was recently compared to Bryan Trottier by Wayne Gretzky.

The next game in the final will take place on Thursday night in Edmonton. In the meantime, both teams have a lot of travelling to do before Game #3. Will the Oilers use their home-ice advantage to bounce back?

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