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Oilers fans get a Father’s Day weekend gift they won’t forget at the Stanley Cup Final

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Father's Day came early for Shawn Mullin and his 9-year-old daughter, Audrey.

17 June 2024
17 June 2024

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Father's Day came early for Shawn Mullin and his 9-year-old daughter, Audrey.

Despite the Oilers falling behind 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers, they decided to make the six-plus-hour drive to Edmonton from their home in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, for Game 4 on Saturday night.

About halfway through, their car clipped a deer and went into ditch. The deer ran away, the bumper was damaged but the car was drivable, so they continued on their journey.

Upon arrival in Edmonton, they had to switch hotel rooms because of bed bugs and Mullin worried the trip was cursed. The line was too long to see Shania Twain perform at the pregame concert, but what happened next changed everything.

A little while before puck drop, they were approached by a couple asking if they had tickets for the game. When they said no, they were handed front-row seats on the glass.

"How do I feel? Grateful?" Mullin, a hockey broadcaster, told The Associated Press by phone Sunday. "Complete strangers just chose to gift us that opportunity out of nowhere."

Audrey got a puck during warmups, handed to her by a young boy, perhaps Corey Perry's 6-year-old son, Griffin, who did the same to another fan before Game 3 after getting it from his dad.

"We were blown away by it," Mullin said, "It's a really sweet, generous gesture."

Then Shawn and Audrey got an up-close view of the Oilers 8-1 win that kept the series going. Waking up the next morning, her Father's Day card to him was a list of the "Top 5 things about my dad" and the first was, "He's always there."

"It's going to be hard to top this ever - very much hard to top this ever," Mullin said. "Even though things get fuzzier (from) when you're younger when you get older, that's going to be one of those things that sticks with us for a long, long time."

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky showed no signs of a Game 4 hangover when his team returned to the ice for practice Monday.

Bobrovsky had one spectacular save that had teammates howling in delight during the workout, which came two days after he was pulled during Florida’s 8-1 loss at Edmonton on Saturday night.

Florida coach Paul Maurice knew Bobrovsky would be fine, especially since the Panthers put none of the blame for getting blown out on their starting goalie.

"There’s no bounce-back," Maurice said. "It’s not like we were lights-out and he had a tough night. I got him out of there because he wasn’t going to have anything to do with anything positive that might happen."

The Panthers could top the 1 million mark in total-season attendance for the first time Tuesday night.

Florida drew 763,931 fans during the regular season and has sold another 216,273 tickets during the playoffs - pushing the 2023-24 total, before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, to 980,204.

It’ll need 19,796 fans in attendance on Tuesday to hit the milestone number.

Edmonton’s seven-goal win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final was the seventh time in franchise history that the Oilers won a playoff game by such a margin and the first time in a title-series game.

The Oilers’ record for a playoff win is 10 goals, a 13-3 win over Los Angeles in 1987. They had a nine-goal win over Chicago in 1985, and a pair of eight-goal wins over Calgary in a four-day span of 1983.

The other seven-goal wins before Saturday were over Winnipeg in 1984 and Los Angeles in 1990.


Whyno reported from Edmonton, Alberta.


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