"Did they fly WestJet Ultra Basic" "Confirmed - God's an Oilers fan": NHL fans in splits as Florida Panthers land in Edmonton after 3 hours delay

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Edmonton Oilers at Florida Panthers
NHL fans in splits as Florida Panthers land in Edmonton after 3 hours and 16 minutes delay

NHL fans on social media were left in splits as the Florida Panthers' flight from South Florida to the other part of the continent in Edmonton was delayed by three hours due to severe weather-related conditions.

After taking a 2-0 lead, the Panthers are set to have Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup final against the Oilers at Rogers Place. Due to severe storms near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, their charter jet had to depart three hours later than planned.

The Florida Panthers squad touched down in Edmonton around 8 p.m. ET (3 hours and 16 minutes late as planned) and will have less than 24 hours before the puck drops for Game 3 on Thursday.

Here's what fans on X (formerly Twitter) had to say about the Panthers' delayed touchdown at Edmonton, with one humorously tweeting:

"Did they fly Westjet Ultra Basic?"

Another fan chimed in and opined that it is a great opportunity for the Oilers to get a great start in Game 3:

"Confirmed - God's an Oilers fan"
"You guys make it sound like it’s horrible. I fly 2 hours take an hour bus sleep 4 hours then do a 13 hour night shift….. the fly a nice charter flight and stay in the best hotel I think they will make it." one optimistic fan on X wrote.

Here are some of the other top reactions on X:

"A few years ago Vegas did not land into Dallas until a few hours before gametime due to high winds overnight in Denver. Vegas won that game. This isn’t as big of a deal as people think," another opined.
"They’re there to pick up the Stanley Cup on Saturday and flight it back the US," another posted.
"I’m sure the refs are flying on the same plane as them," said another.

Notably, the series between the Panthers and Oilers has the longest distance between two cities in Stanley Cup Final history, at 2,541 miles (4,089 km).

Florida Panthers coach optimistic about Aleksander Barkov's potential return

Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice felt grumpy after Game 2, but his mood turned optimistic when he learned that captain Barkov is likely to play in Game 3.

Barkov left Game 2 in the third period after getting hurt by Leon Draisaitl's elbow hit to the jaw. As a result, Draisaitl was hit with a two-minute penalty for roughing. Aleksander Barkov practiced Wednesday and was feeling better.

During an interview with NHL.com, Maurice said that Barkov's potential return significantly influenced his mood:

"It's the driver of my mood, right?" Maurice said. "You go through that fear 'maybe' is the right word. Nobody wants to lose their captain and you don't know if you have or not for a block of time. And then you find out there's a good chance you're not going to and you're in a much better mood."

The Florida Panthers enter Game 3 with a solid 2-0 lead and will hope to return home with the Stanley Cup with them.

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Edited by Neha
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