Evan Rodriques 3, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman 0.

Who saw that happening through the first two games against the Panthers?.

Heck, not even Rodrigues, the definition of a journeyman.

“It’s pretty cool… I mean you know what? I’m not too worried about point totals or goals,” said the forward, who popped two goals by Stuart Skinner Monday, the second off an Evan Bouchard giveaway, the third on the power play, ending the Oilers run of 34 kills in a row over a 12-game span.

It’s not Sam Reinhart, who had 57 goals in regular-season and has eight more in the playoffs, who’s beating the Oilers. He hasn’t scored. It’s not Matthew Tkachuk, he of the flapping mouth guard, blowing in the breeze. He hasn’t scored either but he got on his horse to hound McDavid on a third-period breakaway, without taking a penalty.

Nope it’s Evan Rodrigues, who ripped one home from the slot in Game 1, too.

Rodrigues had 12 goals in 80 league games.

He has six in 19 in the playoffs.

“He has a unique confidence about himself where at times when he’s playing with top guys, they just want to give him the puck and get out of the way,” said Panthers forward Kyle Okposo, a former teammate in Buffalo.

Rodriques, who has played for Sabres, Penguins, Avalanche and now Panthers, played last year in Colorado but went unsigned as a free-agent in a salary cap crunch. He will ride this wave as long as it goes.

“Nice to contribute, that’s what we’re here to do,” said Rodrigues, of his first-ever playoff game-winner and first of any kind since December.

More than contributing. It’s the same Rodrigues, who also smacked Darnell Nurse into the boards just over eight minutes into the first period on Nurse’s fourth shift, and Nurse left holding his hip. He’s over that torn hip flexor from the 2022 playoffs, you would think, but Nurse only played three more shifts (one in the second, two in the third), maybe with the hip area frozen so he could give it a go. He played just 4:20.

Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele leaves the ice after being issued a game misconduct penalty after his hit on Eetu Luostarinen of the Florida Panthers during the first period in Game 2 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena on June 10, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida.Photo by Elsa /Getty Images


Oilers winger Warren Foegele, trying to gain some traction with the coaching staff after being a healthy scratch in the Dallas series, didn’t do himself or his team much good when his knee caught the thigh area of Eetu Luostarinen in the first period and he got tossed after just 1:54 of ice-time.

Foegele might face some supplementary discipline, although the Finnish winger who lay on the ice for a minute or so with the trainer out to see him, returned later in the opening period. No injury on the play that got him a major and a game misconduct, so Foegele may get off with nothing, or just a fine.

Oilers coach Kris Koblauch didn’t like losing Foegele because it left them with only 11 forwards, and one of those Evander Kane is playing on one leg and a prayer.

But, he cut him some slack on the hit, although it was a clear penalty.

“On Warren’s penalty, I don’t see any difference from the Sam Bennett one. You’re going to hit a guy (Foegele) and the guy moves out of the way, it’s pretty tough to change where your feet are,” said Knoblauch.

“My opinion, and their opinion (referees) would be a lot different. I saw (Evan) Bouchard got up right away and their guy didn’t get up right away.’’

Some terrific work on the penalty kill by Mattias Janmark drew a penalty during the Foegele major, and Mattias Ekholm scored on a 4-on-4 shot that squeezed through the five-hole of Sergei Bobrovsky.

But Foegele’s exit, left the Oilers shorthanded for the last 50 minutes, Kane only had 5:45 through 40 minutes. On top of that, Ryan McLeod barely moved the dial 5-on-5 (6:41 minutes) although he did some nice work on the PK (2:22). He played just 9:03 total and was on the ice, partially screening Skinner on Rodrigues’ winner.


Draisaitl caught Aleksander Barkov with a high elbow to the Florida captain’s face in the third when it was 2-1, a sign of frustration, perhaps, and maybe some weariness with Knoblauch shortening his bench. Barkov didn’t play again. It wasn’t a stick to his face but the elbow did hit him there, so maybe the league’s department of player safety takes a look at it.

It seems more of the fine variety than suspension worthy, but who knows?

“I thought it (hit and penalty) was part of the game,” said McDavid.

Any thoughts on the hit, Florida coach Paul Maurice?

“This isn’t the Oprah Winfrey show. My feelings don’t matter,” he said.

“The league looks at everything, They’ll look at every hit”

Barkov wasn’t able to return, in a one-goal game.

“There was 9:28 on the clock, I believe, in a 2-1 game. I’m not holding him back,” said Maurice.

Maybe Barkov was held back due to concussion protocol.


Nurse started the game with partner Vinny Desharnais after Cody Ceci was a healthy scratch but they barely got their feet wet when Nurse was hurt. Because they only had five defencemen after that, Bouchard played more than half the game (30:40). Ekholm played 24:54.

Nurse came back at a clean-the-ice stoppage midway through the second period, took a some hard skating strides, but he wound up only playing seven shifts.

“He was on the bench (after the hit) but he’s getting looked at. I don’t have an update. I think he’ll be good to play next game,” said Knoblauch.


After 32 shots in Game 1 against Bobrovsky, the Oilers had a measly seven shots through the first 36 minutes in Game 2.

In the game’s entirety, only McDavid (three), Draisaitl (two) and Hyman (one) had forward shots for the Oilers, just four of those even-strength. One of McDavid’s even-strength shots came on a bolt up ice when he went around Aaron Ekblad, with Ekblad crashing into the end boards and favouring his leg for a short time.

“A six-man job against the best players in the world,” said Ekblad.

This ‘n that

The Oilers run of 34 straight penalty-kills tied the St. Louis Blues 2001 playoff streak.

The record is 39 consecutive by Anaheim Ducks in 2006.

Boston had a 37-game run in 1988. If the Oilers can grab onto anything after losing the first two in Florida and only scoring one goal in 120 minutes it’s this: Boston dropped the first two games in Vancouver in the 2011 Cup final, with only two goals on Roberto Luongo and won the series in game 7.

Those Bruins are the last team to fall behind 2-0 in a series and win. Teams that fall behind two games have only rallied to win five times in 54 previous times in the final. The Oilers have rallied from a 2-0 playoff hole only once to win a series, but it was back in round 2 against San Jose in 2006.

The Panthers are plus 17 in the third period in these playoffs, and have outscored Oilers 4-0. They were plus 36 in regular-season.

The Panthers have decided not to fly to Edmonton until Wednesday after a morning practice in Florida while the Oilers are flying home Tuesday and will skate Wednesday at Rogers Place.