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Rodrigues scores twice as Panthers beat Oilers for 2-0 series lead in Stanley Cup final

The Oilers are heading home in a deep hole.

Evan Rodrigues scored twice in the third period as the Florida Panthers downed Edmonton 4-1 on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup final.

Niko Mikkola and Aaron Ekblad, into an empty net, had the other Florida goals. Sergei Bobrovsky made 18 saves after blanking the Oilers 3-0 in Game 1. Anton Lundell had two assists.

Mattias Ekholm had replied for Edmonton. Stuart Skinner stopped 24 shots.

Edmonton has only successfully rallied from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series once — against San Jose in Round 2 of the 2006 playoffs. And teams that start the Stanley Cup Final down 2-0 have come back to win only five times in 54 previous situations.

"I think we feel that we came here and played well enough that we should have a split," Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. "It doesn't always happen."

The best-of-seven series now shifts to the Alberta capital for Games 3 and 4 beginning Thursday.

Rodrigues snapped a 1-1 tie at 3:11 of the third when he ripped his fifth goal of the playoffs — and second of the series — on a shot that nicked Ekholm in front after Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard put the puck right on his stick in front of Skinner.

WATCH l Rodrigues leads Panthers past Oilers in Game 2:

Edmonton centre Leon Draisaitl was whistled for roughing on Florida captain Aleksander Barkov, who did not return, midway through the period, and the Panthers' struggling power play finally broke through on the Oilers after 34 straight kills. Bouchard's tough night continued when he got beat along the boards and Lundell fed a pass into the slot that Rodrigues redirected past Skinner at 12:26.

Florida coach Paul Maurice offered no update on Barkov's condition, and was far more