Furious Panthers GM Bill Zito flings water bottle at end of Game 5 loss

Connor McDavid had another four-point night and Stuart Skinner stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Florida Panthers 5-3 in Game 5 to stave off elimination once again in the Stanley Cup Final.

With the bullpen depth at an all-time low, the Blue Jays might do well to look at Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito. But maybe in some lower-leverage situations.

Following an empty-net goal by Oilers superstar Connor McDavid that sealed Edmonton’s win, Zito, unable to bottle up his frustrations, let loose and flung a water bottle to the ground with some serious force before storming away on Tuesday.

With the series seemingly locked up after securing a 3-0 lead, it might’ve looked like smooth sailing from that point forward.

But after an 8-1 shellacking in Game 4 and another stellar 5-3 Oilers road win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, the tides seem to have turned in Edmonton’s favour dramatically.

On the precipice of glory, each missed opportunity stings that much more.

Zito has been on the other side of the ring before, as his Panthers caused former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas to put water bottles in similar degrees of danger following a frustrating loss in last season’s playoffs.

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As for this season’s Panthers, head coach Paul Maurice says the team knows all is not lost.

“I’m not pumping tires, I’m not rubbing backs, I don’t think we need that at all. Everybody feels probably exactly the way I do right now,” Maurice said after the game. “I’m not feeling deflated, neither is the hockey team. They’re not feeling defeated. A little grumpy.”

That’s what the Stanley Cup Playoffs, let alone the Final, can do. With everything on the line, no mercy for water bottles.

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