Evan Rodrigues has been solid for the Florida Panthers in the 2024 postseason, but on Monday night at Amerant Bank Arena, he was downright heroic. The 30-year-old Canadian scored two key third period goals against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, helping the Cats to a 4-1 victory and 2-0 series lead.

It's the most games the Panthers have ever won in a championship series — and they're now just two games away from a first-ever NHL title.

“It's special. You try to embrace it, try to stay in the moment,” said Rodrigues afterwards, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. “It's two big wins for our team. And I think we've already turned the page and we're getting ready for Game 3.”

The Oilers jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Mattias Ekholm beat Sergei Bobrovsky on an odd-man rush in the first period. But the Russian superstar shut the door after that, and defenseman Niko Mikkola scored his third goal against Edmonton this season to knot the score at one heading into the third period.

And in the final frame, it was the Evan Rodrigues show.

The Toronto native, who signed a four-year, $12 million contract with Florida as a free agent last summer, scored his first of the game just over three minutes into the third. Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard gave the puck away in glaring fashion in his defensive zone, and Rodrigues made him pay, wasting no time beating Stuart Skinner under the crossbar.

“I got in on the forecheck. Tried to make a play. Almost got myself in a little bit of a pickle trying to look to make a play versus moving my feet,” Rodrigues admitted of the go-ahead tally. “Then the puck came back to me, and I wasn't making that mistake again. So, I just kind of fired it on net, and it went through a couple legs. Obviously, really happy to see it go in.”

Rodrigues' second was a terrific tip on a pass from Anton Lundell with the man advantage, making the score 3-1 and simultaneously breaking Edmonton's ridiculous streak of 34 straight successful penalty kills — the third-longest streak in history. Again, it was Bouchard who fell victim after allowing Lundell to beat him on the wall just seconds before the goal.

It was a tough night for the Oilers' top defenseman, but it was the opposite for Rodrigues, who looked inspired and led his team to a commanding 2-0 lead as the series shifts north to Canada.

Rodrigues earns high praise from teammates, Panthers take care of business

Florida Panthers celebrate the win against the Edmonton Oilers in game two of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers were excellent in Game 2 after not looking quite like themselves in the opener; Florida didn't allow a high-danger shot attempt at 5-on-5, per Wyshynski, and again kept Edmonton's superstar core of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman off the board.

Bobrovsky was excellent as well, and his one goal against in two games has got to make him the Conn Smythe frontrunner as the postseason MVP. But on Monday, it was Rodrigues stealing the show.

“So good, so happy for him. Proud of him. He reads the game so well. He's a super smart player, and I'm really happy to see him get rewarded right now,” said Panthers leading playoff scorer Matthew Tkachuk.

“I think he's a bit of a chameleon,” echoed trade deadline acquisition Kyle Okposo. “I think if you look at the teams that he's played on and who he's played with, it's not an easy thing to go play with some of the top players in the world.”

Rodrigues became the first player in Panthers history to score multiple goals in a Stanley Cup Final game, and Florida is now oh-so-close to a maiden championship.

They'll look to put the Oilers in a stranglehold (figuratively, not literally) when puck drops on Game 3 from Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday.