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Connor Brown Finding Game for Oilers, Key to Game 4 Win

Edmonton Oilers’ forward Connor Brown is finding his game at just the right time and was key to the team’s Game 4 win.

As the Edmonton Oilers faced elimination in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, many depth players stepped up in clutch fashion. Over the past few seasons, Edmonton relied on star forwards like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for offense. Often, it felt like depth scoring was an element the Oilers missed to get to the next level. Game 4 proved names like Connor Brown and Mattias Janmark can lead the charge. Thanks to a full team effort from the whole roster on Saturday, the Oilers avoided getting swept.

Here are some of the difference-makers from Saturday night’s home-ice victory.

Related: Oilers Beat Panthers 8-1 in Game 4, Avoid Stanley Cup Elimination

The Oilers’ Third Line

After trailing by three games in the Stanley Cup Finals, Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch proceeded to make some line changes. In the fourth game of the series, Edmonton’s third line was centered by Adam Henrique, with Connor Brown and Mattias Janmark on his wings. Janmark and Henrique would go on to score both of the opening goals, with one coming off the penalty kill.

Brown was a force all night, playing possibly his best game as an Oiler. More on him in a bit.

In all three periods, the line shutdown Florida’s offense and interrupted their plays, counter-attacking with speed. The line also drew penalties throughout the game.

The Penalty Kill

Since the beginning of the Stanley Cup Finals, special teams were difference makers on both squads. The Florida Panthers’ exceptional penalty kill held off the Oilers’ power play in the first three games, one that seemed unstoppable the past few months. In Game 4, Edmonton shut out the Panther’s with the man advantage despite having four opportunities.

One player’s defensive performance on the penalty kill was difference-making. That player was Connor Brown. He set up the opening goal scored by Janmark from an interception that led to a two-on-one. Brown would go on to recreate that same play multiple times in the game. “He’s a three-zone player. He’s getting it done in all three zones,” said Kevin Bieksa during the intermission of Game 4.

Connor Brown Oilers Stanley Cup Final

For the entire contest, the former Erie Otter was brilliant at killing time, playing keep away, and counter-attacking the Panther’s attacks. He refused to let Florida enter the zone and was stellar in the neutral zone.

Brown and Janmark Have Become Difference-Makers for Oilers

Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch heaped praise on both Brown and Janmark after the game. “Those two might have been our best players,” he said. “You talk about ‘Brownie,’ this was a difficult season. He didn’t play last year, he had a major surgery, and he was building his game, and it was difficult. Throughout the season he just kept getting better and better and better.” He added, “Now, throughout the playoffs, he’s what we anticipated.”

The Final returns to Florida for Game 5 on Tuesday. Many things went right for the Oilers in Saturday’s game, including an underwhelming performance from Sergei Bobrovsky. If Edmonton can build off this win and manage to win Game 5, this becomes a very interesting series. The Oilers’ lines are rolling and should remain the same, as the first and second lines also had success in Game 4.

Next: Oilers Long-Term Deals in the Works for Draisaitl, McDavid, Bouchard

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