The Edmonton Oilers did it again on Friday night, defeating the Florida Panthers in Game 6 to extend the series to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Monday night. The Panthers have plenty to blame for their Game 6 loss, which could be a historic collapse in the Stanley Cup Final.

One team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final to win the series. The Toronto Maple Leafs pulled off the feat in 1942, proof that it's one of the hardest things to do in sports. It isn't only hard to do in the Stanley Cup Final, as it's only happened four times in any round of the NHL playoffs.

It's so uncommon that a team hasn't even forced a Game 7 when down 3-0 since 1945. The same Maple Leafs team blew a 3-0 lead three years later but finished the job in Game 7. Which version of those Maple Leafs teams will the Panthers be?

Warren Foegele opened the scoring for the Oilers, sending Rogers Place into a frenzy. Edmonton held that lead for the rest of the first period, which wasn't hard considering the Panthers' offensive output. Trade deadline acquisition Adam Henrique extended the lead 46 seconds into the second period.

It looked like the Panthers answered quickly after Henrique's goal, but the linesman called Florida's goal back after a successful offsides review challenge. Zach Hyman then made it a 3-0 game on a beautiful breakaway tally to end the second period.

The Panthers were buzzing in the third period, with Aleksander Barkov narrowing the lead to two. However, they couldn't keep the momentum rolling, as Edmonton's defense calmed down and held the lead. Two Ryan McLeod and Darnell Nurse empty netters sealed the deal and won the game 5-1 for the Oilers.

Panthers' forwards were a no-show

Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour (62) shoots against the Edmonton Oilers in the third period in game six of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place.
© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

If the Panthers lose this series, the play of their forwards over the last four games will be most to blame. They saved their worst outing for this game, as they were non-existent during the first two periods. They had nothing to combat the Oilers' onslaught except a brief flurry to start the third period.

At the mid-way point of the game, the Panthers had just five shots on goal. None of those shots came from a forward, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Gustav Forsling had two each, and Brandon Montour had one. It's a disturbing trend for the Panthers, as some of their top performers have fallen on their faces in the last three games.

Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist in a losing effort in Game 5. They were Tkachuk's second and third point of the series, which isn't good enough for one of Florida's top players. He fell back into poor form in this game, recording no points and a -3 rating.

Carter Verhaeghe is one of only two players on the Panthers with a Stanley Cup ring. He scored in the series' first game but didn't record another point until an assist on the lone Panthers' goal tonight. He had a -2 rating in this game tonight and is a whopping -11 over his past four games.

Sam Reinhart had 57 goals during the regular season, which was second in the entire league. He has zero points over his last three games, with just six shots on net. Reinhart has just one goal over his previous eight games.

The Panthers need some of these players to step up in Game 7 if not all of them. If they don't, the Panthers playoff run will be one of the worst chokes in league history.

Has Florida run out of steam?

The Panthers look like a defeated team, which isn't good when facing an Oilers team with all the momentum. Florida was on the other side of a significant choke last season in their first-round series with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins had the best statistical season in league history but blew a 3-1 series lead to the Panthers.

The Panthers have been rolling since that moment, except for a disappointing end to their 2023 playoffs when half their team was injured and they ran out of steam against the Vegas Golden Knights. It's hard to say if that's their problem this season, but there has to be some excuse for their best players disappearing.

The Panthers need to muster up the strength to play their best game of the series and win Game 7. They will get the fortune of hosting the Game 7, and it's hard to count them out despite the last three games. It's hard to say how this series will end, but we'll likely blame the Panthers forwards again if Game 7 goes the Oilers' way.