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Tkachuk-McDavid post-whistle scrum is 'classic playoff hockey' in the Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers rough it up during the second period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup final in Edmonton, Saturday, June 15, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers rough it up during the second period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup final in Edmonton, Saturday, June 15, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Tensions between the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers boiled over midway through Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, with a post-whistle scrum featuring two of the most important players in the series.

Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk put Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in a headlock and landed a few punches in the process.

“Classic playoff hockey,” Tkachuk said.

Panthers penalties set up the Oilers for a 5-on-3 goal that ended their 0-for-the-series power-play drought on the way to an 8-1 blowout that eliminated the possibility of a sweep. But the rough stuff is likely to carry over into Game 5 Tuesday night with Florida up 3-1 and on the verge of hoisting the Cup.

“It’s not been really that kind of series," Florida coach Paul Maurice said Sunday. "There haven’t been too, too many scrums, but everybody’s competitive and to be great in this league you have to have a strong fire, so every once in a while we’ll see that.”

McDavid said he got involved in the fracas because Tkachuk and Sam Bennett were double-teaming Zach Hyman. Asked about the interaction with Tkachuk, Edmonton's captain said with a laugh, “I didn't throw very many punches" but also was not going to shy away from the situation.

“That’s not the game I want to play,” McDavid said. “That’s not my job to really do. I’m just there to make sure no one’s getting outnumbered, and I thought Hyman was getting doubled up on by Bennett and Tkachuk and I just tried to jump in there and do my part as a teammate. Everybody’s got to jump in there in those moments.”

Game 5 adjustments

If Maurice is going to consider making lineup changes, that will not come until Monday before his team gets back on the ice for practice. He first wants to rewatch Game 4 and isolate the performances of any players who might be on the bubble of being scratched.

“If I’m going to contemplate any lineup change, I’ll go back and watch the individuals’ games,” Maurice said. “So, if I’m thinking about taking a defenseman out, I will watch the defenseman’s game straight through so I know what I saw in the game.”

Maurice has in previous series changed out his fourth-line wingers after a loss. That could mean one or both of Ryan Lomberg and Nick Cousins coming back in for Kyle Okposo and Steven Lorentz.

Kane coming

One of the biggest questions around the Oilers in the final has been the play of veteran forward Evander Kane, who has been gutting through a sports hernia all playoffs. Kane had one point in nine games before coach Kris Knoblauch decided to scratch him for Game 3.

Kane was scratched again in Game 4, but the team is not leaving him behind, keeping open the chance he is back in the lineup with Edmonton again facing elimination.

“Yes, Evander’s going with us and there’s a possibility and we’ll just evaluate his health and make a decision then," Knoblauch said.

Without Kane, the Oilers have relied on 2007 Stanley Cup winner Corey Perry for much of the edge and gritty play needed this time of year. Perry played just under 14 minutes Saturday night and had an assist. Top Stories

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