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Oilers dominate Panthers from the start of Game 4
Credit: Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Raise your hand if you’d already buried the Oilers heading into Game 4 of the final series.

Okay, you can all put your hands down now. I can’t see any more.

Instead, I’m going to ask the question in a different form. In fact, I’ll ask it the other way around: raise your hand if you predicted a seven-goal Oilers win in game #4.

Go ahead…


That’s what I thought. No one in Canada – and the U.S. – dared to venture such a scenario. A little $100 on Oilers odds per 6.5 goals could have made me rich!

Let’s talk stats
This morning, after four games of the Cup final series, the Panthers have scored 12 goals and the Oilers, 12. If you were in the Maldives at Cayo Coco and your Internet connection was as fast as the Tim’sdrive-thru on the corner, you might think the series was tied 2 – 2, like

Especially since the Oilers have scored 12 goals against a goalie, while the Panthers have thwarted a goalie only ten times. They scored two goals in an empty net… which means the Oilers’ goalie was better than the Panthers’, if we’re only going by hard statistics.

But no! It’s the Panthers who are ahead 3-1 in the series… Sergei “MVP” Bobrovsky has been better than Stuart Skinner… and it’s the Panthers who will be trying to win the Stanley Cup tomorrow night in Florida, not the other way around. Scoring all your goals on the same night doesn’t give you more points or advantages in the end! On the contrary!

What happened on Saturday night?
Many are wondering how the Panthers could have crashed so badly in Edmonton on Saturday.

There are several possible explanations.

1. The Oilers – especially their best players – finally found a way to produce at five-on-five. Seven of the Oilers’ eight goals were scored at even strength on Saturday.

The two-headed monster, which in my opinion was responsible for the 0 – 3 deficit after three games, was back in full force: Connor McDavid had four points and Leon Draisaitl, two. McDavid scored his first goal of the series… while we’re still waiting for Leon’s first, but hey.

The Oilers’ best players were (finally) better than the Panthers’ best players on Saturday night. That’s it.

2. Sergei Bobrovsky was smoking in the first three games of the final series, but on Saturday, he became the Bob of COVID years once again. If he hadn’t been so extraordinary during the first few games of the series, it wouldn’t be 3-1 for the Panthers. Unfortunately for the Oilers, Bobrovsky rarely delivers two bad playoff performances in a row.

3. The Panthers players had given up in the middle of the game. At 5-1, they already had their heads in the game #5. The three subsequent goals don’t mean much.

4. Darnell Nurse (finally) put in a performance worthy of the salary he’s paid. It was the first time he had finished a game at plus-2 or better(plus-3) since the start of the playoffs.

5. Subconsciously, the Oilers players wanted it more than the Panthers. They wanted to avoid humiliation in front of their fans (like the Canadiens in Game #4 at the Bell Centre in 2021). The Panthers, on the other hand, knew that if they couldn’t close the gap on Saturday, they’d have three more chances to do so… including the next one in Miami, in front of their fans. There was no hurry, like. #SentimentDUrgence

Georges Laraque confided two weeks ago that the nightlife in Edmonton wasn’t great. Why celebrate the Cup there when you play in Florida and can do it in Miami three days later, in front of your fans no less?

Frankly, I’m pretty convinced that the Panthers will finish the job tomorrow night in Sunrise. Not having evenly distributed offensive production will haunt the Oilers’ forwards (and Evan Bouchard). #TheWorstStrategy #NotPredictedThis Way

Several stars will be on hand at Amerant Bank Arena tomorrow night, and while Game 4 is always the toughest to go after, Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk, Evan Rodrigues, Gustav Forsling, Aaron Ekblad and company will find a way to win tomorrow. #GrosParty

But if the Oilers had to win a second consecutive game…

And force a game #6 in front of their fans in Edmonton. It would start to get really stressful for the Panthers…

In closing, I return to my original point: the Oilers and Panthers have each scored as many goals since the start of the Stanley Cup Final… and the Oilers have two more against a goaltender than the Panthers. Yet further proof that statistics can be made to say just about anything, especially when the sample size is small.

Beware! There’s always a context, additional data and/or the famous eye-test to complete what a statistic can a priori try to say…


– Coccaro has EVERYTHING to become a mega-star in Montreal. His intensity and determination on Saturday… his happydisposition… he just needs to stay healthy and put it in a few times at home and boom!

– Luca Saputo was present at Saputo Stadium on Saturday evening.

– I don’t think Rory slept well last night…

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