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Edmonton Oilers look to regroup after 'encouraging' loss in Stanley Cup opener

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a one-on-one chance with Sergei Bobrovsky late in Saturday's first period.

The Oilers forward — the team's longest-serving player, one who endured some of the franchise's darkest days — was stoned by the Florida Panthers goaltender with a full-stretch pad save.

Nugent-Hopkins then got an opportunity on another power play in the second, but fired high with Bobrovsky at his mercy.

Edmonton bagged plenty of looks in Florida's 3-0 victory to open the Stanley Cup final in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The club knows it must bear down even harder to tie the series Monday in Game 2.

"It's encouraging, in some ways, the way that we played," Nugent-Hopkins said of the Oilers' 32-shot performance. "You want to stack up as many wins as you can as early as you can, but it's a best-of-seven and it's a race to four.

"We did a lot of good things. We couldn't find a way to beat them."

Edmonton trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes despite outshooting the Panthers 25-12 before the home side started to find its footing in the third.

Much like the chances that fell to Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers captain Connor McDavid, forward Adam Henrique and defenceman Evan Bouchard all had terrific opportunities on Bobrovsky.

"Not gripping our sticks too tight," Edmonton centre Leon Draisaitl said Sunday of the approach moving forward during a media availability at the Panthers' practice facility. "Continuing to play loose and continuing to play our game."

The fact Florida won despite being second-best for large chunks of Game 1, however, has to be a concern.

"They're just going to be better," Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said. "We'll see more from them."

Edmonton defenceman Mattias Ekholm said despite the loss, his team answered some questions