The Edmonton Oilers are falling behind in the Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers lost to the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Monday night in a game where they led 1-0 at the end of the first period. Fans and media alike had several questions about why Edmonton has struggled in the first two games of the series. Understandably, much of the concern is focused on the Oilers' two star players — Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl spoke with the media following the Game 2 defeat.

When asked about whether Edmonton needs to play better of if Florida deserves praise for playing good defense.

“It's a little of both,” Draisaitl said. “We can certainly be better. It starts with me.”

Draisaitl and McDavid only managed five combined shots on goal in Game 2. They will need to improve in a hurry if they want to rescue the series.

Draisaitl was also asked whether he believes himself and Connor McDavid should be expected to play better as the team's two best players.

“I can only speak for myself, I certainly have a lot more to give,” Draisaitl said. “Not my best tonight. Obviously I'm owning that, will regroup and make sure I'll be better in Game 3.”

Connor McDavid is still optimistic despite the crushing loss.

“It's exciting,” McDavid said per Ryan Frankson of “It's another opportunity for our group to come together and dig our way out. It's supposed to be hard, it's supposed to be difficult, and I'm excited to see what our group's made of. I'm excited to see us fight through adversity and I'm looking forward to people doubting us again. We're good with our backs against the wall.”

Oilers' Leon Draisaitl delivers big hit on Aleksander Barkov in third period of crushing Game 2 loss

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) faces off against Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (16) during the second period in game two of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final
© Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Draisaitl delivered a huge hit on Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov in the waning minutes of the third period.

Both players were engaged in a battle on the board, which resulted in Barkov taking a beating and then hitting the ice. Drasaitl was sent to the penalty box for roughing.

When asked about the incident after the game, Draisaitl brushed away the idea that the play occurred because he let his frustration bubble over.

“I don’t think that’s frustration. It was just a hit,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything dirty about it. Maybe I got him a little high. Certainly not with intent to injure, though, or anything like that.”

Panthers head coach Paul Maurice did not speak in great detail about the injury following Game 2. However, it was clear that he was frustrated with the situation. After being asked twice about his feelings on the matter, Maurice gave a cutting response.

“This isn’t ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’” Maurice replied. “My feelings don’t matter.”

Barkov's injury status is currently unknown.

Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues, who scored two goals in the third period, praised his teammates for how they responded following Barkov's injury.

“I think we rallied,” Rodrigues said. “We did what we had to do to win the game. You never want to see your captain go down, but I thought everyone did a great job, focused in, got the job done.”

Edmonton will host Games 3 and 4 of the series and will need to log at least one victory in front of the home crowd to keep their season alive.