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Edmonton Oilers' frustration builds with 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final

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Edmonton Oilers' frustration builds with 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final
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News

Edmonton Oilers' frustration builds with 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final

2024-06-14 12:14 Last Updated At:12:21

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Unable to complete a third-period comeback, the Edmonton Oilers find themselves on the brink of elimination despite arguably being the better team in two of the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.

Coach Kris Knoblauch believes it is a matter of time before his team, led by reigning and three-time NHL MVP Connor McDavid, comes through on the bevy of chances and all the pucks going on net. But time is running out to have that breakthrough, and the frustration was evident after a 4-3 loss in Game 3 on Thursday night.

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Florida Panthers' Carter Verhaeghe (23) chases Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Unable to complete a third-period comeback, the Edmonton Oilers find themselves on the brink of elimination despite arguably being the better team in two of the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) reacts after a Florida Panthers goal during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) reacts after a Florida Panthers goal during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) can't get past Edmonton Oilers' Ryan McLeod (71) during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) can't get past Edmonton Oilers' Ryan McLeod (71) during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Kevin Stenlund (82) helps Edmonton Oilers' Warren Foegele (37) off their bench after he was checked into it during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Kevin Stenlund (82) helps Edmonton Oilers' Warren Foegele (37) off their bench after he was checked into it during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch watches play during the first period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch watches play during the first period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) is scored on by the Florida Panthers during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) is scored on by the Florida Panthers during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

“It's very frustrating,” Leon Draisaitl said. “We’re obviously firing a lot of shots. We just can’t seem to put it over the goal line.”

The Oilers outshot the Panthers 35-23 and had many more high-danger scoring opportunities than their Game 2 defeat in Florida. They tilted the ice toward Sergei Bobrovsky and cut their deficit from three goals to one with five minutes left but could not crack him one more time to force overtime.

“We’re still getting our looks,” Draisaitl said. "When you’re chasing the game for a big chunk of the night, it’s just hard to come back.”

McDavid alone had five shots on net, including a one-timer after a power play expired that Bobrovsky slid over to stop. He set up Philip Broberg's goal in the third but still has no goals in his first career trip to the final.

This is not on McDavid alone, but he and his teammates are struggling to solve the Panthers before it's too late.

"We’ve had stretches that are good, stretches that are bad," McDavid said. “We’re trying to figure them out, obviously."

Late in Game 3, it looked like they had. More than eight minutes after Broberg scored, Ryan McLeod tipped a puck past Bobrovsky to cut the deficit to one with 5:17 remaining. Pulling goaltender Stuart Skinner for an extra skater kept the pressure on, but the clock hit zeroes and sent Florida into celebration mode with the first title in franchise history now one win away.

No team has been swept in the final since the Washington Capitals in 1998, when the Detroit Red Wings went back to back. The last team to rally from down 3-0 in the final was Toronto in 1942, and it has happened just four times in NHL playoff history.

“It’s a steep hill right now,” Draisaitl said.

A steep hill that the Oilers hope they can begin climbing using the fuel from the almost comeback.

“There’s a difference between frustration and quitting,” Knoblauch said. "There’s absolutely no quit. There’s a belief that we can do this. We just need to keep pushing.”

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

Florida Panthers' Carter Verhaeghe (23) chases Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Carter Verhaeghe (23) chases Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) reacts after a Florida Panthers goal during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) reacts after a Florida Panthers goal during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) can't get past Edmonton Oilers' Ryan McLeod (71) during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) can't get past Edmonton Oilers' Ryan McLeod (71) during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Kevin Stenlund (82) helps Edmonton Oilers' Warren Foegele (37) off their bench after he was checked into it during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Florida Panthers' Kevin Stenlund (82) helps Edmonton Oilers' Warren Foegele (37) off their bench after he was checked into it during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch watches play during the first period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch watches play during the first period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) is scored on by the Florida Panthers during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) is scored on by the Florida Panthers during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Donald Trump's campaign chiefs designed the Republican convention opening this week to feature a softer and more optimistic message, focusing on themes that would help a divisive leader expand his appeal among moderate voters and people of color.

Then came the shooting that rattled the foundation of American politics.

Suddenly, the Democrats’ turmoil after the debate, the GOP’s potential governing agenda and even Trump’s criminal convictions became secondary to concerns about political violence and the country's stability. The presumptive Republican nominee and his allies will face the nation during their four-day convention in Milwaukee unquestionably united and ready to “fight,” as the bloodied Trump cried out Saturday while Secret Service agents at his Pennsylvania rally rushed him to safety.

Anger and anxiety are coursing through the party, even as many top Republicans call for calm and a lowering of tensions.

Vivek Ramaswamy, who ran in the GOP presidential primary, has distinguished himself as one of the more aggressive voices on the right, saying often that the country is already at war with itself. So it was notable that in remarks at an event run by the conservative Heritage Institute at the RNC on Monday he was toning down his rhetoric and urging the country to come together.

“The enemy is not the Democrats, it is an ideology,” Ramaswamy told the crowd at Heritage’s “Policy Fest” event.

GOP Sen. Steve Daines, the chair of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, said at a Politico event at the RNC on Monday that the party needs to focus on policy and not divisive politics in the aftermath of Saturday’s shooting.

“This is a moment, as we say, that the temperature needs to be brought down,” the Montana lawmaker said. “What needs to be litigated for the American people in the next three and a half months should be more policy and not personalities.”

On Monday, hours before the first convention session, some well-timed good news for Trump got the day off to a positive start for him and his party. The federal judge presiding over Trump's classified documents case dismissed the prosecution because of concerns over the appointment of the prosecutor who brought the case, handing the former president a major court victory.

Trump posted on his Truth Social platform to call for the dismissal of his other legal cases.

“As we move forward in Uniting our Nation after the horrific events on Saturday, this dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts,” he wrote, listing several cases.

Meanwhile, Trump is expected to announce his vice presidential pick on the first day of the Republican National Convention, he said in an interview.

It remains unclear whether the shooting Saturday at his Pennsylvania rally has changed the former president’s thinking about his potential second-in-command. But he told Fox News Channel host Bret Baier in a call that he planned to make his pick Monday.

In an interview Sunday, Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley said the convention’s programming wouldn't be changed after the shooting. The agenda, he said, will feature more than 100 speakers overwhelmingly focused on kitchen table issues and Trump’s plans to lift everyday working Americans.

“We have to be able to lay out a vision for where we want to take this country," he said.

Whatley said the central message would have little to do with President Joe Biden’s political struggles, Trump’s grievances about the 2020 election or the ex-president’s promises to exact retribution against political enemies.

“We are going to have the convention that we have been planning for the last 18 months," he said. "We are a combination of relieved and grateful that the president is going to be here and is going to accept the nomination.”

Beyond voting to formally give Trump the nomination, elected delegates from across the nation will update the GOP’s policy platform for the first time since 2016. The scaled-down platform proposal — just 16 pages with limited specifics on key issues, including abortion — reflects a desire by the Trump campaign to avoid giving Democrats more material on a key campaign issue.

The platform approved by a committee last week doesn't include an explicit call for a national abortion ban, two years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended a federally guaranteed right to abortion.

“More divisiveness would not be healthy,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

As Trump prepares to announce his choice for vice president, his top three contenders are North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Ohio Sen. JD Vance and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, all expected to speak this week.

Despite a contentious primary season, any lingering tensions appear to have been set aside.

Former rivals Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador, are expected to speak at the convention on Trump’s behalf.

There will be reminders of Trump’s record in a speaking program that includes a handful of Republicans charged with crimes related to other political violence — the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who's in jail on contempt of Congress charges, is expected to speak at the convention just hours after his release. He was found guilty in September after refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Capitol attack.

Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald, who was indicted of criminal charges related to his involvement in a scheme to present fake electors who would overturn Biden's victory over Trump, plans to present the former president with the party nomination at the convention. A judge dismissed the case against McDonald last month over a venue dispute.

Trump has repeatedly cast the people involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including his many supporters who stormed the Capitol, as political prisoners.

For now, Democrats have scaled back their plans to offer a competing message during the Republican convention.

The Biden campaign over the weekend pulled down its campaign ads. Vice President Kamala Harris postponed a Tuesday appearance in Florida set to focus on Trump’s opposition to abortion rights. And the pro-Democratic group American Bridge is delaying the scheduled Monday release of faux trading cards designed to highlight controversial policy positions of Trump and other leading Republicans.

The convention, coming less than four months before Election Day, is taking place in heavily Democratic Milwaukee, the largest city in a pivotal swing state Trump lost by less than 1 percentage point four years ago.

Even before the assassination attempt, major protests were expected, although movement will be severely restricted as part of enhanced security precautions established by the Secret Service.

Still, the risk of violent confrontation exists.

Security officials previously announced that people just outside the Secret Service perimeter would be allowed to carry guns openly or concealed as permitted by state law. Wisconsin statutes outlaw only machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and silencers.

Associated Press writer Christine Fernando reported from Chicago. AP writers Thomas Beaumont in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and Ali Swenson in Minneapolis contributed.

A worker carries a chair during perperations for the Republican National Convention Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A worker carries a chair during perperations for the Republican National Convention Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Law enforcement officers stand in an aisle at the 2024 Republican National Convention inside the Fiserv Forum, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Law enforcement officers stand in an aisle at the 2024 Republican National Convention inside the Fiserv Forum, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

An exterior general view at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

An exterior general view at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala. is seen during the Republican National Convention Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala. is seen during the Republican National Convention Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

A color guard comprised of veterans rehearses ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A color guard comprised of veterans rehearses ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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