2024 Stanley Cup Final: 5 Takeaways from Panthers-Oilers Game 1

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2024 Stanley Cup Final: 5 Takeaways from Panthers-Oilers Game 1
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - OCTOBER 28: (L-R) Darnell Nurse #25 and Cody Ceci #5 of the Edmonton Oilers look on during practice at Commonwealth Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s been a story, and not a pleasant one, for the Oilers all postseason.

The defensive pairing of Cody Ceci and Darnell Nurse had been a liability at best and an embarrassment at worst during Edmonton’s first 18 games through three series, and the narrative didn’t change much—or at least not enough—on Saturday night.

Ceci and Nurse were on the ice for Florida’s single goals in the first and second periods, and the second tally was particularly egregious, coming after Ceci was beaten to a loose puck along the end boards behind Stuart Skinner by Sam Bennett, who fed a pass backward past Nurse and into the slot to Evan Rodrigues.

Rodrigues buried it over Skinner’s glove and gave the Panthers and their goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, all the cushion they’d need and more on a night in which Florida was outshot 32-18.

Ceci is an unsightly minus-7 for the playoffs for the Oilers while Nurse’s missteps dropped him to a team-worst and downright ugly minus-15, a stat that somehow looks even worse when you consider he’s the highest-paid Edmonton player not named Connor McDavid and will carry a $9.25 million cap hit through the end of 2029-30.

Incidentally, the worst-ever plus-minus for an entire postseason is Calgary’s Paul Reinhart, father of Florida’s Sam, who was minus-16 for the Flames in the 1983 playoffs.

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