At Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 between Edmonton and Florida, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll take the title

The Stanley Cup will be hoisted in South Florida on Monday night with either rat-loving Panthers fans celebrating their first title or Edmonton Oilers faithful toasting the prized trophy’s long-awaited return to Canada.

Edmonton is seeking to become only the fifth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit when they take the ice at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

Oilers and Panthers meet in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals

  • Coverage on ABC begins at 8 p.m. EDT
  • Edmonton looks to become the fifth NHL team ever to come back all the way from a 3-0 playoff series deficit.
  • Oddsmakers have pegged the game as a virtual tossup despite Florida enjoying home-ice advantage.
  • Oilers player to watch: Connor McDavid somehow didn’t even register a shot on goal in his team’s 5-1 win in Game 6.
  • Panthers player to watch: Sergei Bobrovsky gave up four goals in 86 shots (.953 save percentage) in Games 1-3; has surrendered 12 in 58 (.793) in Games 4-6.

Just 1 1/2 weeks ago, the Panthers appeared invincible, following their 4-3 victory at Edmonton in Game 3, giving them a 3-0 series lead.

The high-power Oilers, who scored the fourth most goals in hockey this past regular season, had only put four pucks past Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in those first three games.

But those first three contests have looked nothing like Games 4, 5 and 6 as Edmonton has run roughshod over Florida, scoring 18 to force this decisive game.

Five teams have rallied from a 3-0 hole to win a best-of-7 playoff series in NHL history: The Toronto Maple Leafs (1942), New York Islanders (1975), Philadelphia Flyers (2010) and Los Angeles Kings (2014). The Leafs’ feat came in that year’s Stanley Cup finals.

But if history is any judge, any momentum gained from wins in Games 4-6 often ends when the puck drops in Game 7. While four teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit, five other 0-3 squads have forced a Game 7 only to lose the winner-take-off contest.

The Detroit Red Wings (2011, 1945), Chicago Blackhawks (2011), the Islanders (1975) and New York Rangers (1939) all gallantly fought back before dropping a Game 7. The 1975 Islanders pulled the 3-0 miracle in a quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and nearly pulled off the same feat in the semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers before falling in Game 7.

An Edmonton win on Monday night would bring the Stanley Cup home to Canada for the first time since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens won it all.

A Canadian team has made the Stanley Cup final six times since the 1993 Habs, only to fall short against a U.S.-based club.

Panthers fans, armed with toy rats, hope to keep Canada’s Cup-less streak going for at least one more year. Florida last came this close to lifting Lord Stanley’s famed chalice in 1996, making the Stanley Cup finals before losing to the Colorado Avalanche.

Earlier that season, Panthers forward Scott Mellanby killed a rat in Florida’s dressing room and then scored two goals later that night. The rat became a symbol of the team as Florida made it to the Cup final in 1996, which was coincidentally the lunar year of the rat.

First appeared on www.nbcnews.com

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