The Edmonton Oilers are staring down a potential sweep in the Stanley Cup Final. Thursday night's Game 3 could give them new life if they can defeat the Florida Panthers. If not, then Edmonton is in deep trouble. That said, captain Connor McDavid has full confidence in his team.

The Oilers captain pointed to previous matchups from these Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is not the first time Edmonton has found themselves in a hole. In fact, they faced the prospect of elimination in the second round against the Vancouver Canucks. And yet, they found a way to win each time.

“There's definitely a certain confidence from knowing that we've been in difficult situations and succeeded and fought our way back,” McDavid said, via “We've talked a lot about that certainly, but that's because we found ourselves in difficult positions a lot throughout the year and throughout the playoffs.

“This would be certainly one of those situations. It's not ideal, but I look forward to the opportunity of our group. I said this after Game 2, but I look forward to the opportunity for our group of coming together one last time to dig our way out.”

How Connor McDavid, Oilers can rally

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) controls the puck against Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart (13) during the third period in game one of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot that Edmonton can work on. Their elite offense has gone ice-cold in the Stanley Cup Final. They have just one goal — scored by defenseman Mattias Ekholm — in this series. And their historically good power play finds itself in an 0-for-7 hole through the first two games against the Panthers.

McDavid believes his team can fix their power play struggles by playing a bit looser. Relying less on the structure of the system could open things up for the unit. If they want to see success, this is an area the Oilers captain thinks his team must improve in.

“I think it's got to be a little bit more of a 5-on-5 mentality in terms of it's not going to be as structured I would say, it's not as structured a power play, but just using instinct,” McDavid said, via “We call it playing road hockey. I think we've got to be elite at that.”

It may be a perfect counter to the Panthers and how they play. Florida is an inherently physical team. They want to be aggressive in all facets of the game and get in your face at every opportunity. Playing with a bit more freedom could throw this style of penalty kill off balance. And with Edmonton's talent, it could certainly lead to more goals.

Edmonton backs its captain

Connor McDavid is one of — if not the best — players in the world. But he has emerged as the team's out-and-out leader over the last few seasons. Edmonton would not want anyone else leading the charge in this situation. Head coach Kris Knoblauch acknowledged as much on Wednesday.

“You watch practice today, he was our best player on the ice. Every drill, moving as fast as he could, trying to make every play. In the dressing room I’ve heard him talk to the team, whether that’s been on the bench or the dressing room, and saying the right things, getting the guys focused on what we need to do,” the Oilers head coach said, via

Forward Connor Brown played with McDavid under Knoblauch during their junior days. He pointed out one main reason why the team is behind the former first-overall pick as he leads the way. “He takes responsibility on his own shoulders. Before he put it on anybody else's, he would look in the mirror and think about every which way he could have been better before he looks at anybody else. I think that's why guys love that he’s our leader,” Brown said, via

The Oilers take to the ice on Thursday night at home for a crucial Game 3. This game is essentially a must-win for them even a loss won't end their season. Let's see if Edmonton can get a game back over the Panthers in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.