After winning Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final and taking a stranglehold in their best-of-seven series with the Edmonton Oilers, the Florida Panthers have looked like a completely different team over the last week. The Cats have dropped two in a row to the Oil, been outscored 13-4 in that span, and need to get a win at Rogers Place to avoid the series going back to Sunrise for the first Game 7 in an NHL championship since 2019.

And for Friday night's critical Game 6, Paul Maurice is turning to a familiar face. Nick Cousins, who hasn't played in any of Florida's last eight postseason tilts, will return to the lineup, the head coach confirmed on Thursday.

“It's his turn to draw in,” said Maurice, per Field Level Media. “I really liked where Kyle [Okposo] was at. Not that he had a game that changed my mind, but I thought he deserved, based on play, to stay in. The switch was kind of there. I thought, if there was a Game 6, that Nick could go.”

Cousins will replace Okposo, who was traded from the Buffalo Sabres mid-season, on the fourth line. The Canadian has added just one assist in 11 postseason tilts in 2024, and hasn't suited up since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

The Panthers lost that game, but went on to triumph in three straight to advance to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final. And after bowing out to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games in 2023, there's no better time than now for Florida to capture a maiden championship.

But after squandering a 3-0 series lead, it'll take a massive effort to defeat the Oilers once and for all in front of what will be a raucous Canadian crowd on Friday night.

Panthers can once again silence Oilers in Game 6

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

“I'm excited to come in and help the boys,” Cousins said on Thursday, per Field Level Media. “I think I can help, create some energy, and I have fresh legs, which are certainly important this time of year.”

Although he's mostly been a non-factor, Cousins was great in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, recording two goals and seven points in 21 games, the most important an overtime series clincher against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of Round 2.

The hope from Florida's perspective is that Cousins can create some energy and give the Panthers a new look as they aim to keep Game 6 a lot closer than the last time these two teams met at Rogers Place — an 8-1 shellacking in Game 4.

Cousins practiced along with Ryan Lomberg and Kevin Stenlund, who figure to make up the rest of the fourth line on Friday. The 30-year-old recorded 15 points over 69 regular-season games with Florida in 2023-24, his second year with the club.

Over a 10-year NHL career, the Canadian is up to 71 goals and 180 points over 592 contests split between the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Golden Knights, Nashville Predators and Panthers.

Maybe Cousins can score another big postseason goal as the Panthers look to silence the Oilers and finally bring the Stanley Cup to South Beach.