Panthers recover, defeat Oilers in Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final for 1st title

Verhaeghe gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 4:27 of the first period, six seconds after their first power play of the game expired. 

He played the puck from behind the net to Evan Rodrigues along the left wall, and Rodrigues whipped a shot from there to the net. It looked like it was going wide right, but Verhaeghe got his stick on it in front, deflecting it down and through Skinner’s legs.

It was Verhaeghe’s first goal since Game 1 and the first time the Panthers led since Game 3.

“The last couple games they scored so many goals off the hop, and to play with the lead, it felt good,” Verhaeghe said.

The Oilers got the goal back quickly with Janmark scoring on a breakaway to make it 1-1 at 6:44.

“I thought they were the better team in the first period,” Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said. “I thought they came out with a little more urgency and won a lot of puck races. I thought we defended well. I thought in the second and the third period, I thought we found our game, I thought we played well, but couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities.” 

Instead, it was Reinhart giving Florida a 2-1 lead at 15:11 of the second period, scoring with a low, short-side shot from inside the right face-off circle.

Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov cleared the puck away from the Panthers crease before he fell into the net. The puck went to Verhaeghe, who moved it up to Reinhart. 

Reinhart was looking for a pass as he went through the neutral zone and across the blue line, but eventually chose to shoot, and the puck squeezed through Skinner to give Florida its second lead of the game.

“You’re hoping that’s it, right?” Reinhart said. “I mean, there was a lot of work to do, a lot of game left, but absolutely I’m hoping that’s the one.”

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