What was once a comfortable three games to none series lead in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final for the Florida Panthers has suddenly turned into a three-games to-two lead following two straight victories by the Oilers not only to stave off elimination but to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of the Panthers and their fans.

Not only did Edmonton score the game's first goal while shorthanded shortly into the 1st period for the second straight outing, but they also built up a 4-1 lead before weathering a furious comeback effort by Florida. Suddenly, it appears that the bulk of the pressure is on the Panthers to close the series out to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history but to avoid being associated with one of the all-time great collapses in sports history.

What do the Panthers need to do tonight to ensure that the Oilers can't force a decisive Game 7 back in Sunrise on Monday night?

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky bounces back 

Bobrovsky had been a brick wall for the bulk of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and was a huge factor in the Panthers taking a three games to none lead over the Oilers. In fact, he limited them to only a single goal in the first two games of the series. However, his stat line since the final horn of Game 3 has been anything but pretty to look at, as his save percentage has dropped to a ghastly .756 while his goals-against-average has ballooned up to 8.11, a massive increase from the 1.33 he recorded prior to Game 4.

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski stated in no uncertain terms while appearing on ‘The Drop' podcast that Bobrovsky's performance in the last two games has been subpar, via David Staples of The Edmonton Journal.

“Another bad outing from Sergei Bobrovsky. You know (in previous Final games) he would stop a breakaway, he would stop these grade A chances, he would not give up a soft goal. He did none of that in Game 5. He gave up a goal to McDavid in Game 5 that’s unconscionable because he was playing too deep in his net, and McDavid knew it, and he knew exactly what to do with the puck… (Bobrovsky) was infinitely human for the second straight game.”

In Game 6, look for the man affectionately known to fans and media as “Bob” to bounce back and shut the door and get back to outplaying his Edmonton counterpart Stuart Skinner.

The Panthers' power play finally figures it out 

Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk (19) reaches for the puck on an empty net attempt on goal by Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) during the third period in game five of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers' power play has been anything but effective in the Stanley Cup Final. Not only have they lit the lamp on only one occasion with the man advantage, but they've also been outscored by the Oilers 2-1 when an Edmonton player is in the penalty box.

According to veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, there aren't major changes that need to be made to the power play attack, but rather simple adjustments, via David Hyde of The Sun Sentinal.

“I think simplify it a little bit,’’ Ekman-Larsson explained. “Obviously I don’t want to sit here and give everything away. But, yeah, simplify it and just try to have fun with it.”

One of those adjustments has already been made, as Ekman-Larsson will be taking teammate Brandon Montour's spot on the top power-play unit, via Colby Guy of Florida Hockey Now.

“It hasn’t been working, so we needed a little change up,” Montour said. “Regardless of who’s out there, whether it’s 1 or 2, I’m going to get some power play time. So it frees it up, it’s a little change. Nothing drastic. I’ve been on Power Play 2, I’ve been on no power plays. As a unit, we’ve been together for a while, and [Ekman-Larsson] has been there this year while I was hurt and in games throughout the year as well, so it’s nothing too crazy.”

Look for the Panthers to have figured out their power-play woes and use it to their advantage tonight – or at the very least, prevent the Oilers from being the more dangerous team despite having one of their own players sitting in the penalty box.

The Stanley Cup makes a long-awaited appearance 

While Rogers Place in Edmonton has been deafening throughout the Stanley Cup Final, the venue and the rowdy fans who fill it will finally fall silent tonight. By the time the final horn blows, the Panthers will have ended any chance of the Oilers forcing Game 7 and will finally celebrate the first Stanley Cup victory since the franchise's inception in 1993.

Despite this, fans will soon be chanting “Let's Go Oilers!” as the two teams gather for the traditional post-series handshake, and even after captain Sasha Barkov accepts the Stanley Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who will be heavily booed.