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Ryan McLeod scored the Oilers' eighth goal. © APA / BRUCE BENNETT

Furious Oilers thwart championship party

The Edmonton Oilers made an impressive comeback in the playoff finals of the North American ice hockey league NHL.

Leon Draisaitl's team won 8-1 against the Florida Panthers in front of their home crowd, reducing the series to 1-3. A total of four wins are needed to win the Stanley Cup.

The Oilers survived the Panthers' intense opening phase unscathed and celebrated a dream start of their own: First, Mattias Janmark scored into the half-empty goal (4th minute), then Adam Henrique pushed a sharp pass into the net (8th minute). Florida came back close with a deflected shot from Vladimir Tarasenko (12th minute), but Dylan Holloway found the right answer to a power play on a pass from Draisaitl to make it 3-1 (15th minute). For the German, it was his first goal involvement in the current finals.

The Oilers continued to play freely in the second period. Connor McDavid extended the lead with his first goal of the series (22nd minute). Darnell Nurse ensured that the workday of Panthers keeper Sergej Brobovsky, who had been so strong up until the game, ended prematurely with a shot into the corner (25th minute). And Edmonton also managed to score the first power play goal of the final series through Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to make it 6-1 (34th minute).

Sergei Bobrovsky didn't have much to celebrate. © APA / HARRY HOW

In the third period, the Panthers tried to turn the momentum around again, but were repeatedly thwarted by the brilliant Stuart Skinner (97 percent save percentage). So it was the Oilers who, in energy-saving mode, made the final score 55:57 through Holloway (8th) and Ryan McLeod (1th).

For game five, they're heading back to Florida. Then, on Wednesday night, the Panthers have another chance to secure the first Stanley Cup in their franchise history.

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