The Florida Panthers have a strong hold on the Edmonton Oilers late in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. However, after leading the series 3-0, Florida allowed Edmonton to gain momentum with an 8-1 Game 4 victory. As a result, head coach Paul Maurice is mulling personnel changes for the Panthers' pivotal Game 5 matchup.

The Panthers could replace Steven Lorentz with Ryan Lomberg as the left wing on the fourth line, and Paul Maurice issued a three-word response when asked about lineup changes.

“Certainly considering it,” Maurice said, per Dan Rosen of

Rosen reports that Lomberg skated with the fourth line in practice on Monday with Kevin Stenlund in the middle and Kyle Okposo on the right side. Moreover, Lorentz and Nick Cousins are expected to be a healthy scratch. They were filling in on the second line for Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett, both of whom did not practice.

Aaron Ekblad did not suit up either, but he, Tkachuk, and Bennett are all expected to play in Game 5. Paul Maurice gave a straightforward but reassuring response when asked about the three players.

“All good,” Maurice said.

Bennett left Game 4 after Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse tripped him during the first period. Nurse's left shin caught Bennett below his knee, which caused the Panthers forward exit to the dressing room before later returning.

It will be interesting to see if Maurice inserts Ryan Lomberg into the lineup to get things sparked back up. Lomberg has not played since May 26th, which was Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers. Florida has scratched him for seven straight games. Yet, his return could provide the spark the Panthers need to close the series out.

Panthers look to end Stanley Cup Final against Oilers in crucial Game 5

Florida's 8-1 defeat was surprising, given their hold on the series up to that point. Nevertheless,
Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues saw the Panthers' loss as a learning opportunity.

“I think you learn from it. I think the nerves are a little bit less now,” Verhaeghe said, via Greg Wyshynwki of ESPN. “It's a little different with the Cup in the building, but we're not really focused on that. We're just trying to focus on playing as well as we can.”

Rodrigues said that the Oilers played “desperate” hockey in Game 4 and signaled that the Panthers must be ready to exceed their energy.

“I think there was a lot of energy going into that game,” Rodrigues said, via Wyshynski. “I think we'll be better prepared for Game 5 than we were for Game 4.”

Florida has three more chances to win and close out the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. Although, fans are hoping the team seals the deal in Game 5. Paul Maurice emphasized that his team is not comfortable despite having a 3-1 lead.

“Oh, there's no comfort in the playoffs, man,” Maurice said, via Wyshynski. “You're never in a comfortable position in the playoffs. You've earned your wins, you've earned your losses. It's the same feeling.”

Can the Panthers make the necessary adjustments and put the Oilers away?